To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Everything is new when it is crisp in the fall.” And to us teenagers, this season involves the mourning of a lost summer and the perpetual annoyance towards the “Back-To-School” banners that only serve as a reminder of our predicament.
Along with the transpiring of the annual “Back-To-School” season is, of course, back to school shopping. New (school) year, new you, right? Well, some people might have been taking that a little bit too literally.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a staggering 224,079 teenagers in the United States underwent cosmetic surgery in 2014; 64,000 cases being classified as “invasive” surgical procedures. According to plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, teens take advantage of their fast healing times and schedule alterations during school breaks, such as summer vacation. So if everything went accordingly, their transformation would be complete by the beginning of school. Talk about a makeover!
But since when has our definition of beauty moved from the movie-montage wardrobe changes and “nerdy-girl-finally-takes-off-her-glasses” to augmentations and injections and…rhinoplasty? Again, Ellenbogen attributes this craze among teens to the normalization of cosmetic surgery and the vanishing of its stigma.
It does not help that the mere speculation of celebrities going through cosmetic procedures are constantly in the limelight and scrutinized by the public. Not to mention the other media moguls who openly rave about where they “got work done” and how satisfied they are about it.
Don’t misinterpret my distaste for this trend as my being opposed to plastic surgery itself. I am a strong advocate for people feeling confident and happy about their bodies. And I believe each individual is completely entitled to making their own decisions about his or her body.
What I am concerned about however, is that undergoing surgery is becoming the act of jumping on a bandwagon rather than adhering to personal desires. What is even more troublesome is that teenagers voluntarily go under the knife with, at the very least, questionable motives.
Besides that, it is debatable whether or not a teenager is mature enough to handle the risks, dangers or simply the changes that surgery results in. Seeing as most invasive cosmetic procedures are permanent, is it really logical to be making irreparable changes at an age where in most parts of the country, it is still illegal to
get a tattoo?
On a separate note, it is important for teens to understand that surgically altering their appearance is not the key to happiness, nor will it make this increasingly critical society we live in become accepting of us. Media outlets ranging from magazines to social media platforms brainwash today’s generation from the womb and teach us to be dissatisfied with ourselves, that we need to constantly strive to achieve an the beauty that is becoming increasingly unrealistic. And that is not okay.
For now, in this wonderful time of fall crispness, let us embrace new beginnings with school bells and banners, not with blood and bandages.