Vanity and Plastic Surgery in L.A.

Any time the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People is on, I can’t help but add my own twist to the song: “All the other kids with the pumped up lips, better run, better run…”

Who could blame me, especially living in Los Angeles? One simply has to open Instagram to see that it is riddled with posts showing off new contouring skills that complement plastic, puffed lips and implant-induced cheekbones.

But this blog’s purpose does not lie in shaming those who choose to undergo plastic surgery, nor does it aim to condone it. Ultimately, it’s an individual choice and it’s up to the decision maker to determine what is best for them. I certainly know my fair share of people who have decided to go under the knife, and while I enjoyed seeing how happy they were with the results, they were just as beautiful to me after the procedure as they were before.  

My concern lies more with society’s growing plastic surgery obsession and the pressure it puts on individual members to look a certain way. While writing this piece, my friend Maria informed me of a woman at her workplace who told her that she needed lip injections because hers are too thin. Maria, confident and beautiful, laughed as she told me the story.

“My lips are great,” she said loudly. “I’m already beautiful. The woman is crazy!”

In a perfect world, everybody would be as confident as Maria. For the time being — and probably for as long as humans exist — we are stuck with societal compulsions to turn to procedural (and non-procedural) beauty enhancements. In many ways, it has become a virtue of sorts, with many claiming it helps them feel beautiful.

But why should society make anyone feel ugly in the first place? Everybody wants to feel beautiful — there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, nor with keeping any kind of beauty routine; however, there is something unhealthy about our obsession with it, an obsession so strong that many of us are willing to permanently alter our faces to fit some inflated standard of beauty. While I’ve never gone under the knife, I am certainly also guilty of such vanity and social obedience, as my eyebrow lady can attest to every time I obsessively draw lines for her to prevent the possibility of over-tweezing.

We all have a right to feel beautiful, but nobody has the right to tell us how or under which circumstances we can feel that way. If you want to get your nose done, go ahead. If you want to get your lips pumped, pump away — just know that you don’t have to in order for society to find you attractive, nor should you feel ugly if you don’t conform to whatever beauty trend is the latest craze. Trends fade (just look at Mona Lisa’s eyebrows), but permanent alterations do not.

Essentially, I guess what I’m saying is, let’s all just take a page out of Maria’s book.