In a world that’s subliminally (or sometimes very directly) telling you that being beautiful means being worthy, it is kind of difficult to survive without developing a severe case of self-consciousness and self-doubt. Not that we’d ever fall under the spell of superficiality, but given that a lie told two times becomes the truth, how strong are we not to develop an addiction to beauty, i.e. physical beauty – to be more precise?
Social Media Influence and Beauty Standards
With the growing popularity of social media, that’s both expanding our views on beauty (we won’t deny the fact that, up to the end of the 20th century, only white women were portraits of beauty), somewhat redefining it and adding some realness to this never-ending discussion (the growing popularity of “plus size” models is definitely a positive vibe), we are, at the same time, getting bombarded with Barbie celebrity ideals that are, in all truth, hard to miss. The struggle to stay alive, positive and healthy in a Size Zero culture feels like tilting at windmills, every single day. Like being a woman itself isn’t already hard enough, we now have to “fight” other women and beat their skin tone, their size, shape, flawless hair, social and economic status – just to be noticed, and then – maybe even loved.
Pop Culture and Dorian Gray
While on one hand, the 21st century has embraced the diversity of beauty (in color, size and shape), it has – on the other – forced upon us an unnaturally perfect image that’s very difficult to keep up with. This lurking paradox of existence is making it twice as hard for women to stay within their inborn identity and appreciate it for what it is, without, at least at one point, thinking there indeed are parts of their bodies and faces that need to be surgically/cosmetically adjusted. So, what are we to do?
While surgical procedures in themselves aren’t a big deal (why wouldn’t we correct parts of ourselves that are making us uncomfortable?), what poses a problem is the overly enthusiastic approach to corrective medicine, promoting a-must-surgery attitude that’s destroying the confidence of both young women in development and women in their late 30's, 40's and 50's, teaching them that – the way they currently look – simply isn’t good enough.
With low self-esteem come poor life choices, so – wanting to improve their life quality – most women opt for surgeries just so. What is more, even experts in corrective surgery working in renewed clinics like Medaesthetics have started expressing their concerns for the growing interest in surgery in women who, realistically speaking, have nothing to “fix”, but still cultivate a physical body anxiety that’s leading them into obsessive behaviours and, ultimately, a dissatisfaction with who they are (physically). In medical circles, this psychological state is known as DGS – Dorian Gray Syndrome – “a cultural and societal phenomenon characterised by a man's extreme pride in his personal appearance and the fitness of his physique, which are accompanied by difficulties in coping with the requirements of psychological maturation and with the aging of his body”.
Unlike using beauty products to prolong aging and improve the aesthetics of one’s appearance in a healthy way (which may or may not work, without serious consequence), corrective surgery is estimated to be addictive and can be very dangerous. Apart from the results that may fail, a person may easily get hooked and destroy their physique by expecting a picture-perfect reality, which, naturally, can’t be achieved.
What is more, both men and women are affected by this society-imposed critique, and the expectation to fit the mould (although, men suffer from it less) which has them constantly wondering whether they are good enough. You are.
So, let us ask you this: what’s a woman’s worth if she doesn’t have large breasts, a plump behind, a tiny waist and pouty lips? The current beauty standards say she is worthless. We believe otherwise. You should believe it, too. Embrace your surgical procedures healthily, with no obsessions about fitting in or filling anyone’s standards. Working with professionals will help you get what you want, but learn to stop. Tame that Dorian Gray in you, and you’ll live happily ever after.