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Desirae Rowell
UWRT 1103
November 28, 2015

As a student in college, Im always thinking and considering the outcome of my

education. I am truly blessed to say that I know the field of study I want to pursue and am not
struggling as much as other kids I know. Health Science is my passion because I enjoy learning
about the human body and its development over life. I feel like people should be aware of the
processes and cycles taking place in their own body. However, as far as my actual career goes, I
have no idea what I want to be. I enjoy the brain, the heart, the lungs, and other aspects of the
human body. One of my favorite shows, Greys Anatomy, contains many surgeons who specialize
in these different areas. One surgeon I took interest in was the plastic surgeon because the
manipulation of skin and tissues is an interesting concept to me. However, as the show
developed, I began to have mixed feelings about plastic surgery as a whole. I didnt know if I
agreed with reconstructive surgeries with a sole purpose to improve appearance. For surgeries
such as rhinoplasties or breast implantation, I didnt care for the physical procedure as much as
the emotional motive.
Self-image and self-esteem play a role in the mental/emotional health of everybody,
whether that role is big or small. It definitely plays a role in the motive of many plastic surgery
procedures. I want to explore the thought process behind a patient that receives cosmetic surgery.
For example, two different girls are very self-conscious about their noses, wishing it was smaller
or shaped differently. However, only one of the girls decides to consult a specialist and undergo

rhinoplastic surgery. What are the motives and perspectives surrounding the field of plastic
Throughout history, the connotation surrounding cosmetic surgery has changed. People
used to fear these procedures because it allowed people of different social groups to intertwine
collectively. It was seen as a false representation of ones soul and considered unnatural and
immoral. However, Dr. Victoria Pitts-Taylor, head of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
at Wesleyan University, points out that there is no clear definition of normal in regards to body
and soul. In Surgery Junkies: Wellness into Pathology and Cosmetic Culture, Pitts-Taylor writes
about the outside perspectives regarding plastic surgery. She explains that many psychiatrists
believe patients getting cosmetic surgery should also be screened for mental disorders such as
Body Dysmorphic Disorder. They use plastic surgery as a means of pathologizing ones
mental/emotional thought process. Cosmetic surgeries are often looked at with a negative
connotation because people dont distinguish the difference in restoration procedures versus
enhancement procedures. Taking a scientific standpoint, doctors and other specialist look at the
possible risks of reconstructive surgeries to assess their relevance and importance. Dr. Arthur
Perry explains that plastic surgery as a whole, is a newer field of health with many unknown long
term effects still being researched. There are risks such as bleeding, scarring, undesired results,
and other complications that a patient needs to consider. He also warns that physical health must
come before appearance flaws. However, with all these risks involved, there are still some
benefits. Plastic surgery can improve ones appearance and self esteem (Perry, 2007). In fact,
other surgeons even promote cosmetic wellness or the correlation of positive emotional health,
resulting from plastic surgery, to positive physical health. In fact, the only real measurable result
of plastic surgery is patient satisfaction. In a study conducted in 2008, quality of life was

measured in 93 patients who had received some form of facial surgery (Litner, Rosenberg, &
Adamnson, 2008). The measurement tool was called the Derriford Appearance Scale, containing
59 items relating to self-consciousness, negative self-concept, and resulting distress. Each patient
was surveyed before and after their surgery and results showed an overall improved quality of
life with a strong correlation towards females. This female trend has recently been noticed in
Hong Kong, China. Hua Wen is an active worker in academia and international organizations in
the field of gender and development. She recently traveled to China and wrote about her
experiences there. She saw an increase of cosmetic surgeries of teenaged girls and their parents
approval. Multiple parents have been using cosmetic surgeries as a motivator for good grades.
Graduate students have been using plastic surgeries as erotic capital, or using physical
appearance and sexuality to create advantages in society. Extending beyond the emotional
motives, many women are turning to plastic surgery in the face of job discrimination in order to
gain an edge in the job market over other women and men.
Initially, looking at plastic surgical procedures, I assumed it was to gain the approval of
others in society. This is why I felt hesitant on the scientific field of cosmetics because I didnt
agree with the motive. Never would I have thought that you could use beauty enhancements as
advantages in society to fight gender discrimination, similar to Hong Kong events. I also didnt
think about actual quality of live improvements that plastic surgery results in. This shouldve
been one of the most important aspects considering the greatest measurement of success in
cosmetics is patient satisfaction.
My overall perception of cosmetic surgeries is a lot less harsh now due to these studies.
Behind the physical health of a patient, I believe happiness should be of up-most importance in
ones life. Although I may not necessarily agree with rhinoplasties and wrinkle reduction. If it

truly makes someone happy and can even improve their quality of life, I dont believe anyone
has the power to tell them no. However, I also believe there is no standard of normalcy when it
comes to beauty and that people shouldnt be so hard on themselves. The flaws that people notice
about themselves may not even be noticeable to others.