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Is it just me or is there anyone else out there that is mortified by the plethora of plastic surgery make-over shows currently being shown on network television? I cannot believe it! People willingly signing up for not just one surgery but phases of treatment requiring numerous surgeries and painful procedures. And the intense level of healing that their bodies must go through as a result of all that trauma. For Years. Just thinking about all that anaesthesia alone makes me ill. But the bottom line for me is what is it that motivates someone to take such drastic measures for superficial change?
Several months ago, a friend and I were talking about the popularity of these make-over shows, and she mentioned that social psychologists believe the make-over shows are a direct result of living in such a disconnected, mobile society, where first impressions are the ONLY impressions. We don’t develop the connections with people like our parents and grandparents did. If we interacted in our daily lives with people we went to elementary school with, people we knew our entire lives, we would judge them on the basis of their character and how they lived their lives; how they looked in appearance would be inconsequential.
I remember as a new mother and struggling with accepting the physical changes wrought from childbearing, I read in “Mothering” magazine an article from a man who had studied pygmy cultures in Africa. In pygmy societies, the woman who has the saggiest skin and the most stretch marks is seen as the most beautiful. Since children are so highly valued in pygmy society, the physical remnants of childbearing form the basis of their standards of beauty. How I clung to the notion that it is our standards of beauty that are at fault, not my changing body. And that what we see as beautiful is a reflection of our character, both individually and as a society.
Never having been one to embrace the beliefs and attitudes of the dominant culture, I realize I have always been attracted to interesting faces sculpted from experience and a life lived fully. And if there is a quirky personality living behind that face, all the better.
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