October 17, 2011

The Plastification of America

We have become a nation that is reliant on plastic.

A plastic trifecta: Plastic credit cards to coax us into debt, plastic containers to hold our expensive water, and plastic surgery to complete the trifecta.

Is our nation turning into molten mass of synthetic life? Almost everywhere you turn you see someone who has had something lifted, tucked, realigned, plumped or cut-off for aesthetic reasons.

Plastic surgery. A $10.7 billion dollar industry* that makes bank on the removal of character and what makes each individual authentic. Plastic surgery has grown by 155%  since 1997 and these numbers are only continuing to increase. As more and more people go under the knife we are slowly becoming immune to the illusion of what the body really looks like. Our thinking process is 90% visual and the more we see something the more it becomes ingrained into truth.

What is happening here? Oddly enough, paired with this rise in the occurrence of plastic surgery is a rise in positive body image campaigns and messages that scream for us to love ourselves. Are these messages being heard?  How can they be when so many more people are altering their appearances.

In 2010 breast augmentation topped the list as the most performed procedure. This is a shift from the top procedure in 1997, which was liposuction.  The majority of breast augmentations performed weren’t even for each for “deformities” such as extreme asymmetry or severe underdevelopment, but again for purely aesthetic reasons. What do these women think they will gain from having larger breasts? A happier life? Better friends? More money?

Why do we subject ourselves to implanting foreign objects and injecting poison into our bodies. Do we really fear being human that much; the lines that tell the stories of our lives or the skin that sags with character? Our bodies change throughout our lives. By pretending we are immune to this we deny our very essence of being human, running towards the static image of an illusion and from an acceptance of our soul.

“We don’t see things as they are.  We see things as we are.”  – Anais Nin

Perhaps this money and time would be better spend delving into the issues that exist below the surface, engaging in self-reflective practices such as yoga, meditation, body work or even therapy sessions. These practices integrate the disconnect that exists between body and mind and are much longer lasting than procedures that will have to be re-done after several years and come with the possibility of severe complications.

What is your take on plastic surgery? Are you part of the 56% of Americans who approve?

*statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Photo credits: plasticcelebritysurgery.com, liposuctionpricingguide.com, pickthebrain.com

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