Comfortable in one’s own skin

Half of Britain’s secondary school girls consider some form of cosmetic surgery as an option to enhance themselves.

Apparently, the number increases with students who are not doing very well in studies or are from an unprivileged background. Self respect or lack of self-respect/self-esteem seems to be the reason behind this. That and the fact that cosmetic surgery is being peddled as the one stop treatment to all issues.

We were watching a programme on Channel 4 called The White Beauty Myth. It dwelled on how people wanted to look ‘white’ as the Caucasian looks are considered by a lot of people around the world as the ultimate or supreme and how a lot of people were resorting to surgery to ‘deracialise’ themselves. Not getting into the details of the white beauty myth itself, I was appalled to see how many people felt that their success depended on how they looked.

There was a Malaysian man who was considering getting leg lengthening surgery, people wanting to change their jaw structures, noses, breasts, the list is endless. It makes one wonder what makes these people be so ready to go under the knife. In some cases, the issue was clearly self-esteem. They felt that making their looks change would change the way the world looks at them.

Cindy Jackson has been named, for the 11th year running, the most surgically enhanced woman in the world. She has had 50 or more cosmetic procedures at the cost of over Β£100,000. She talks about how she felt the same people treating her better after she had cosmetic surgery. While most people do not go to such lengths, a lot of people seem to feel that some sort of cosmetic surgery is definitely an option.

With celebrities coming out in the open about the surgery that they have had and television programmes on how a little nip/tuck makes a huge difference, and people weeping tears if gratitude after a successful procedure, must be changing people’s minds, especially those who already feel uncomfortable with their appearance.

The truth is that while cosmetic surgery might make a positive difference for a lot of people, for some, it might just turn too costly, some pay with their lives. After all, just like any surgery, things could go wrong even in cosmetic surgery.

Body image is fast becoming very important for a lot of young people and cosmetic surgery is one industry which appears unfazed by even the recession. One plastic surgeon apparently ‘redesigned’ his wife. The latest is a criminal who outwit the police by going under the knife. Japan’s number one fugitive, outwit the police and escaped capture fortwo and half years by altering his appearance.

To me, the most worrying aspect is that so many young girls seem to feel that cosmetic surgery is an option. The fact that they are worried enough about how they look, to even think of going under the knife to change their looks! As teenagers, with their lives ahead of them, it is sad that the lack of self-esteem is pushing them to take such measures.

Is it getting more and more difficult for people to be comfortable in their own skin? Is our media and our environment giving us signals to be ashamed of our bodies? Will opting for plastic surgery to tweak that nose or getting a slim tummy become just as common as visiting a dentist is for us today? Is the way we look starting to define how successful we are – irrespective of which field of work we are in?

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87 thoughts on “Comfortable in one’s own skin

  1. I think it depends on the parents to instill in the kids that beauty is inside- how you behave with others, how you make friends and how you live your life. Just because you have a crooked nose or smaller boobs doesn’t mean you won’t have friends! But ya some shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, where kids as young as 12 months are tanned and groomed to preen in front of the judges, I feel are responsible for the kids being image-concious.

    Agree totally!!!! Parents do have a huge role to play! As for these Toddlers and Tiaras.. lesser said the better!

    But if Owen Wilson with his crooked-flat-long nose is sexy anybody can be sexy without surgery!

    Absolutely!!

  2. if school kids are opting for this, then the parents / friends play a major role in making them feel that way i guess…or maybe not helping them build a good self-image…kids should be taught that beauty doesn’t come from appearances but from with in…

    I agree. Parents or the lack of parental guidance is definitely one of the causes of low self esteem..

    but reading all those links on your post, it is really scary the situation out there…so many people not being comfortable with how they look…i don’t really know if this will become a norm of tomorrow, but looks a lot like we are headed that way…

    I know – scary, isn’t it?

  3. I can understand criminals going under the knife to escape detection, but teenagers? The ‘village’ (parents, friends, teachers etc.) are to blame for this phenomenon…

    I agree!

    According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, teens and adults have different reasons for undergoing plastic surgery (ps) – teens view ps as a way to fit in while adults view it as a way to stand out…

    ‘teens view ps as a way to fit in while adults view it as a way to stand out…’ – This is interesting and does make sense too..

    Adolescents should not be allowed by law to undergo cosmetic surgery because their bodies mature till the age of 21…Take for example breast augmentation…Girls continue to develop till the age of 21 so breast implants at 17 may not have been needed at all…

    I agree! I find it disgusting that doctors agree to such procedures just to make money..
    If Oprah can make it big without surgery, so can everyone else…

    Absolutely!

  4. The pressure to look good under acceptable norm has always been there.

    Yes, true. But I wonder if it has increased today, with all the television and media available to us?

    Sad part is that models and actors go for lipo and tummy reduction after their delivery and then endorse products that they claim to have worked for them. Look like pencil thin Malaika Arora after popping out a kid. There is no way that she would look like this because she isn’t naturally thin. I would have believed someone like Amrita Arora. Reminds me of ‘Legally Blond’ where the accused who sold exercise videos didn’t want to produce an alibi because she was getting a lipo.

    Oh Absolutely! That is really sad, because so many people would believe them and buy those exercise vieos only to find no effect of it on themselves..

    I am not totally against cosmetic surgery. Shaping teeth and putting braces also comes under cosmetic surgery and almost all kids these days have them. Also, sometimes it is necessary to remove some birthmarks and scars. But yes! I am against rhinoplasty and all sorts that changes your appearance. How to decide ho far is too far?


    ‘How to decide ho far is too far?’ – That is ths problem.. When do we say it is too much? As far as people are making informed decisions, I guess it is alright. The trouble is when young people, feel that this is the way to instant success..

    • I’m with Sols on this,Smits. Many a time it so happens that cosmetic surgery is associated with liposuction,breast implants or face lift only.Fact is putting braces or removing moles or scars will also fall under surgery.And some of those become quite essential that one gets them done.

      But yes,anything in excess should not be encouraged.It may prove fatal too. I have read cases where people have had to pay for their decision to go under the knife with some dire consequences like disfiguring of faces or even losing their lives.

      Some surely have had positive outcome..Madonna is a classic example πŸ˜€ ! With each passing year she seems to be redefining the term teenage..err..young πŸ˜†

        • Oye,Saksh!!*dha dha dha dha dha dha dha* thats me firing at you with my sten-gun!
          Have I not made myself clear..no one says anything against my Fedex???? He is the most naturally handsome hunk (after R,of course πŸ˜‰ )on this planet! Take it from someone who has met him in person!

          πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

  5. Interesting post.

    Thank you and welcome here!

    The sad part is, what the west introduces, we in India, ape, and that too, senselessly, without really checking things out. This business of fairness creams, cosmetic procedures, liposuction and assorted things supposedly guaranteed to give quick results and amazing lifestyle changes, is so strong that as parents we need to be very very concerned. Magazines here are full of all kinds of unsubstantiated stuff here and lots of people think thats the gospel truth.


    I agree! Yes, we as parents have to be very concerned that our children pick up the right things and that they are confident and comfortable with themselves.

    I have a daughter who is probably a bit younger to you. She has what we call a wheatish complexion. Its been a very interesting time convincing her that what she has is wonderful in its own way, and you might be interested to read about this. Digitally Dark and Lovely …

    I will definitely hop over and read it! Thanks so much for the link and for dropping by, please do keep visiting πŸ™‚

  6. Practically I have seen that to many persons looks make a lot of difference..beautiful people always get the first hurdle crossed easily, in every gatherings they are the cynosure of attention, but then comes the real personality..and they may miss that first impression but then they get a permanent attention….and I have seen many magnetic personalities who were not beautiful or handsome in a literal way..so we need to change the perceptions a little, and get some confidence.

    ‘ they may miss that first impression but then they get a permanent attention….and I have seen many magnetic personalities who were not beautiful or handsome in a literal way.’ – Oh yes! I know loads of extremely magnetic personalities who are definitely not good looking in any traditional way, but they capture your interest with their intelligence and personality! It is definitely a matter of getting some confidence. I agree with you entirely!

  7. Thank god! here in India majority of the human race is happy to be contented with ‘Fair & Lovely’ or ‘Fair & Handsome’. Though both of them are making fortune out of this fairness cream business, it makes me feel sick of watching their promos or the message they try to convey!

    Seriously! It is disgraceful how we are hung up on fairer skin, but still it is better that invasive surgery, I guess…

    Now the context of cosmetic surgery is even more stupid I would say. Also, it makes me recall a great quote by Orpah Winfrey – “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

    Absolutely! If only all of us felt that way!

  8. Surgical procedures to increase self-esteem? That’s really sad.

    Isn’t it?

    Luckily, with my perfect looks, I have no such issues! πŸ˜‰
    With your perfect looks, why would you πŸ˜‰

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

  9. my mom is after me to have some cosmetic surgery too…..to undo aftereffects of having twins..

    but yes…at what age and at what length is the problem..


    Yes, I guess, it is for the individual to decide.. But when you see people going to any length to change the whole face and stuff.. I just start wondering..

  10. The problem is that very few people have the time and inclination to ‘look under the skin’. That’s why first impressions increasingly count for a lot- sad though it is!

    I agree. It is sad that looks have taken precedence over personality!

  11. Raakhi Sawant is an example in India for liposuction/cosmetic surgery in our country, like Michael Jackson, abroad. Jackson was so childlike and natural when he was young.

    I know! I think he looked far better the way he was rather than what he became!

    Doing the ‘nose job’ is becoming famous, I think. Sridevi did it and I like the older version better! Arora looks sick! As you said, they go through all these painful procedure because of inferiority complex. They are not happy with themselves. Yes, looks are important for even normal people – corrective surgery is OK. But completely changing a person, is unbelievable. I know personally some women who went to VLCC, came out reed thin and tried to maintain it, but they are having back pain, knee pain at the age of 32. One lady is not able to carry her 2 year old child for 10ft, distance also.


    Goodness! Why go in for all this! I think fitness is far more important that being stick thin! What is the point of being thin and not even able to do things like walking or picking up one’s child? I just feel that the emphasis should be on comfort, rather than just appearance, and personality rather than good looks..

    This is an important and interesting post, Smitha.

    Thank you, Sandhya πŸ™‚

  12. Hmm…interesting, I try to see how people perceive with different hair styles, beards etc..and yes there does seem to be a difference..but of course, I am quite comfie the way I am..if anything, beyond the appearance I am the same me πŸ™‚

    I am too πŸ™‚ Happy to be the way I am..

    And why is ‘white’ beautiful? I thought if your face got too pale, it means you have iron anaemia ?


    πŸ™‚ Wish everybody thought that πŸ™‚ You should have seen that programme I mentioned. This woman spent huge amounts of money trying to change her skin colour like MJ!

  13. the biggest example of cosmetic surgery is michael jackson..everybody knows his physical condition which eventually lead him to death is because of all the surgery he performed….


    You know Rash, for most of the people shown in the programme I was mentioning, Micheal Jackson was hero because of the cosmetic surgery he got done.. He was their inspiration, apparently!

    Its in parents hand to stop and guide properly kids ..so that they wont feel inferior..i read in some interview that MJ father use to abuse him coz of his black color..and thats why he was crazy for white color…
    I wont say cosmetic surgery is totally bad..its good to some extent like removing birth marks or brace treatment for teeth..but going crazy behind this to get fairer skin or bfull body is totally useless..


    ‘Its in parents hand to stop and guide properly kids ..so that they wont feel inferior’ – I agree! We as parents can do good or harm, in the way we bring up our children..

    I feel this doctor making her wife like model incident is very horrible !!
    I agree! Horrifying!

  14. at the risk of sounding like an old ammachi, i have to admit: it scares u to think of the upcoming world which u will have to bring up ur daughters in…
    makes u want to completely go off the radar in having kids altogether 😐 and this comes from someone who otherwise loves kids….


    I think to some extent parents do contribute to how secure a child feels. If a child is comfortable and secure in the knowledge that he is appreciated, and loved, I think to some extent, they might be immune to such drastic measures..

  15. I am not sure where I stand on this Smitha. Humans have wanted to look good forever – men and boys also. We had tattoos, corsets, feet binding, neck rings, hair colour, nurse-maids to breast feed babies across cultures, UK, India, Chine everywhere. This is just a more technical development of all the above.


    Yes, I agree that some amount of cosmetic enhancements have been practised through the ages. Even getting one’s eyebrows shaped is a form of cosmetic enhancement, after all..

    I think this is just as bad as cigarette smoking – everybody should know what they are going to get – all the implications – including the biggest, that this wasn’t going to make them magically attractive (though the confidence that it gives might do that), and if they think it’s worth it, that’s their wish.


    Yes, I think it is giving them the confidence -which is why it is so popular. When they begin to feel that they look good, their confidence level goes up and that helps in their being successful.. It is entirely upto individuals but the growing popularity just makes it a bit scary for me..

    I find the idea of criminals using this most scary!

    That is indeed scary!

  16. Smithu, I totally believe in being contented and happy with the way we r born. I mean, hw does even dark, fair, tall, short et..al matter more than how the person’s heart is! But unfortunately, not all people let it be so! Society does pressurize such people and if they r not strong enough to stand and say they love themselves the way they are, they give in to such things!

    I agree. Society does expect that everybody conforms to the so called ‘norms’! And such pressure just makes things worse for people who already suffer from low self esteem.

    People think its a gr8 joke to ask a thin person if they are not fed properly at home or ask one who is on the healthier side whether he eats 15 rotis? It might be a joke for them, but can u believe it? I found a lady in tears in the rest room recently and she ws telling me its bcoz people just went overboard in teasing her. She ws doing all that she could but it was her body nature. She could not reduce beyond a level. Why do we even do this to people? I consider these are the CHEAPEST jokes possible! Pixie happened to call me @ the same time and we were talking abt it @ length and I even composed a post abt the same .. somehow never published it! People always tell this girl to take things lightly, take it as a joke, but does it even sound like one if they go on talking abt it?

    I agree totally with what you say! Jokes sometimes are extremely cruel and people so not realise how badly the person at the butt of the jokes is affected. Obviously someone who has been hearing such remarks all his/her life might feel excited at the prospect of changing herself, if that is going to rid her of such remarks!

    Y always look for a person’s physical attributes? How many people comment abt only the colour of the skin, the hair, the height, weight, beauty etc.. as soon as they meet someone? Don’t they have anything else in this big big world to talk abt?

    Exactly! When everyone around us gives so much of importance to the physical attributes, the people are bound to think that appearance is all that matters.

    One of my colleagues recently had a kid! He distributed sweets and when I asked him how the mom n baby were dng, he said everything ws fine but for the fact that the baby was dark 😦 Immediately, I told him it ws bad he was even thinking abt that when all he hd to be was happy! He ws remembering how his sister was rejected by many stupid men just bcoz she ws dark! Hw ridiculous isn’t it? Who are they to even reject a girl! We are surrounded by like-minded people who are nt into all these and look beyond skin and hair, but still there are a lot many who stil think ‘fair is beautiful’.

    I am sorry I have gone on and on. I agree, we need to accept ourselves as we are and be proud of what we are but its equally important that people around change the way they think too! We should learn to look over and beyond skin and body!


    I agree! Things have to go hand in hand. The society at large needs to understand how much the stress on appearance affects people who do not conform. Unless that happens, people with low self esteem will continue to go for these procedures, irrespective of how harmful they might be..

    I, for one, would hate someone if they like me only for hw I look or change myself to look and not for what I am 😦 I agree some ppl need to look their best as demanded by their professions, but its again because people want to see them that way! Why can’t we let things be natural?

    Why can’t we let things be natural? – Exactly my thoughts..

    • mini-post by Swaru here!

      But, what she says is what I also wanted to say…
      now, I need to re-phrase!
      This is what happens when one turns up so late!

      πŸ™‚ I know – it always happens to me everywhere 😦

  17. OMG! I just finished reading about that creepy plastic surgeon who mad himself a wife. And then I see this post! I agree with you that media is in a large way responsible. If a celeb puts on even an ounce of weight, gossip rags are all abuzz with “Is she pregnant?” and “Oh! She looks like a whale”. It would be truly awful if this becomes a trend and everyone ends up looking plastic and fake. I am not against plastic surgery per se, as in some cases(accidents, burns, scars etc) it becomes essential.

    Absolutely! I agree!

    ‘I am not against plastic surgery per se, as in some cases(accidents, burns, scars etc) it becomes essential.’ – Absolutely! In some cases plastic surgery is very useful! We were watching a documentary on a girl who had to go through plastic surgery after an acid attack. Cosmetic surgery was a boon in that case.

  18. What is happening is only natural. What else do you expect when 24/7 you have pretty, lissome white girls staring you in the face and doing their stuff on TV? It is only natural to develop a complex and want to be like them. If surgery can do it or you, nothing like it – that is a valid argument.


    Yes you are right. It is but natural that people start to feel that they are less than perfect when the media overloads us with images of ‘perfection’. It still disturbs me that so many people are unhappy with the way they are…

  19. and sometimes its done to enhance your confidence ! Cant reveal much though ! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Vimmuu! Bolo Bolo Tell tell – Smita style! Do tell us what you got done πŸ™‚

    I once read somewhere that SRK and Kajol had gone through that whitening thingy ! If you watch a couple of their old movies now, you will find the difference, especially in Kajol πŸ˜€

    Really? Possible, actually!

    • Ayyo Vims please do tell or my imagination might work over time :mrgreen:

      1. did you get a brain enhancement? it explains why you are so so sober now a days….in ur posts and comments πŸ˜₯ I hope Sols and Smita will agree with me on this one *sakshi keeping her fingers crossed*

  20. It is due to peer pressure and superficial stuff taking higher priorities that men/women/teens almost everybody is going towards these options.. Its ok as long as its healthy and doesnt drain out one’s pocket badly.. but then its like if one does it others want to do it too.. its sad and disappointing. Confidence should come from within.. but then pleasant personality does matter and appearance plays some role in it.. isnt it? so one has to use brain before deciding how far to go into altering the natural gift that one gets..


    ‘so one has to use brain before deciding how far to go into altering the natural gift that one gets..’ I agree. The shocking part for me was to see how much their self esteem was effected. They were genuinely pulled down by the fact that they did not look perfect(in their own eyes and as per their definition of beauty). So they felt that cosmetic surgery would be the answer to all their problems..

    • I have a visible gap between two front teeth.. someone once told me that its a sign of being lucky πŸ˜€ but I also keep getting reminded of the gap, indirectly telling me to visit the dentist.. I am okay with the gap and that is what matters.. (at least to me)

      I agree! That is what should matter πŸ™‚ As far as it does not bother you – why go through the hassle of getting it corrected?

      • Lolz Tara I have a gap too between the front teeth and a north Indian lady told me the same lucky funda and when I jokingly asked how come? the woman snapped at me and said “Aren’t you lucky enough to trap one of our boys!!” πŸ˜€ πŸ™„ 😯

        ROFL! Saksh – that lady had a point πŸ™‚

  21. I just got my hair coloured for the first time after everyone was commenting on me at Diwali… and sigh… I feel so odd now looking at myself… plus no longer my hair feel like they were before… I m one of the most reluctant people who would get anything changed…


    You coloured your hair – pic please πŸ™‚ Well, I would think that colouring one’s hair does not count – I cannot do without colouring and these days try differen shades of brown too πŸ™‚

    I dont know where to draw the line… but its not for me… at all ! πŸ˜›

    Yes, all I know is that it is definitely not for me. I would not suffer a surgery to look better(?)

    • I coloured my hair meaning i made them black… and you do tell my gharwala’s… they dont click my pic at all… 😦 😦

      πŸ™‚ Oh dear! That is discrimination! Tell them that you need a pic with your newly coloured hair πŸ™‚

    • Smi, I asked above ‘How far is too far’ and now we have this hair color thing.


      I know — none of us are really in a position to judge are we? Just as I was replying to IHM, even things like gettiing eyebrows shaped is a form of cosmetic enhancement…

      I am a regular user of Loreal hair products for past 8 years because I love hair coloring. I have used Chestnut, Auburn, Light Brown, Dark Brown etc. I also style hair often.

      Now someone could ask me that why am I not comfortable in my natural hair color and I have no answer. I color my hair because I like how it changes my hair texture and the shine it gives. I get bored of same hair style and color. If I give this reasoning then someone like Malaika could justify that she too wasn’t comfortable in her bulging tummy so went for fat reduction and that it is important for her because she is in show business.


      Same here. For me hair colouring is totally part of my routine. but as you say, it might be construed by somebody as a form of changing our natural hair colour. Yes, every person who undergoes cosmetic surgery will have very convincing reasons(atleast for themselves) to go in for it.. The only thing I would say is that as far as people go in for it, having weighed the pros and cons, it is fine. But just blind belief that it will make a difference might not be the right thing to do..

      That is why I am confused on how far is too far because I know many hate hair colors too because after all it has chemicals that spoil hair.

      I know that changing texture or color of hair is not that grave when compared to changes in body parts not to mention those scars after surgery still…I guess those who do it will have their reasons always.


      Yes, true, people who do it will have their reasons.. And for all you know, just as colouring hair or shaping eyebrows, which is totally accepted by most people today, tomorrow some cosmetic enhancement procedures will become just as common and accepted.. In the show that I mentioned, this young man who wanted to get a leg lengthening done, argued his point saying, that if he wanted a nose job nobody would have raised an eyebrow. Just because leg lengthening is comparatively new- everybody goes up in arms.. He might have a point..

  22. I blogged about the same some time back link .I thought only Indians are obsessed with white skin.I never thought Europeans also were same.At the end of the day a persons character and the way he\she behave with others make him\her beautiful rather than skin tone.


    Yes, I remember reading and commenting on this. It is so sad that people feel that they are judged purely by the looks. And sadly society does seem to do that too..

  23. Its sad that ppl think that cosmetic surgery is a way to boost confidence level Smitha. Yes, in few cases there is a real meaning in getting such things done but as many have said, the person getting it done should be above a certain age. A girl’s health is very important as she would have to go through a lot of things at a later stage..these surgeries though may be working for a couple of years might be having a bad impact on the health as well…


    I agree. I think people should make an informed decison, if at all they feel drawn towards cosmetic surgery..

    Once i saw a program where a lady(in her early 20s) got herself a golden tooth or something like that (its been a long time i watched that show) and she was giving an interview that having this golden thingy made her more confident.i was like 😯 how can having some beauty accessory affect your confidence. Many are not gifted with great looks and still they are successful without the need of the surgeries.. Again as many have pointed out its because of the society around us. I feel it also depends on the upbringing.
    Only celebrities were doing it earlier as they were always in the race to look good and then it spread across everyone..I do agree that these days looks do matter but then we shouldn’t try and change the way we were born..


    Yes, agree with you.. It has become very common place – especially in the western world.. Looks need not be the most important thing in a person but society and peer pressure do play an important role in making a person feel inferior because of their looks..

  24. It is totally beyond me as to how can ppl let their body go thru all this!!! The root cause behind all this ultimately is insecurity & the thought that they might do better with good lucks!!!

    Yes, clearly most people seem to feel that by changing their looks they are more likely to achieve success.

    Sad!

    Very!

  25. being under the knife for no reason — is it really necessary ? may be, when their income depends on it.

    Yes, I think that is the reason so many celebrities go under the knife..

    i think we should stop looking at media personalities – most are air brushed or were under the knife at some point.

    Absolutely! The sad thing is that so many people look at these celebrities as perfect examples of beauty.

    a friend’s sister was assisting when sridevi was giving birth – she is all cut and stitched and smoothed under the knife in differnt parts of the body !

    oh god! No wonder all these people emerge after pregnancies with perfect bodies!

    when we see news anchors when they are not under the camera, they are bulging in different places.

    Oh yes!

    the pressure to look good is more implied than within – i can understand when one has cleft lip. – plastic surgery is heaven sent in such cases otherwise seriously abused – but if that makes a person happy so be it.

    there is never a wrong side – it is how we argue the case.


    I agree. There would be compelling arguements from both sides of the coin. In fact every person featured on the show was totally convinced that cosmetic surgery would help them infinitely.

  26. Very interesting post,Smits. I know it is saddening that more and more people are willing to go under the knife any number of times so long as they get ‘the perfect figure’.

    Yes, it is saddening and surprising for me, how so many people seem to be ready to take this step..

    Its even scarier that school-children are beginning to feel the need for cosmetic surgery to boost their self-confidence.I feel to an extent parents play a major role in such attitudes being formed. So long as they make their children feel confident about themselves,and tell them that beauty is much more about how they conduct themselves than going under the knife just to have a nose job or a boob-job or a facelift.


    Absolutely! Parenting or the lack of proper parenting definitely must be a factor in the people who decide to take such drastic steps. Societal pressure also, I think plays a major role in people who start feeling unhappy about their looks..

    Of course,like Anrosh said,if someone has a cleft-lip then a surgery will come as a blessing. But opting for a surgery because one is not doing well in studies or one is under-privileged??thats ridiculous!


    Absolutely! Cosmetic surgery must be a god sent for so may people with problems like cleft lips. But cosmetic surgery as a cure for self esteem is sad..

  27. oopes one of my sentences seem incomplete…

    What I meant was so long as the parents make their children feel confident about themselves,and tell them that beauty is much more about how they conduct themselves than going under the knife just to have a nose job or a boob-job or a facelift,I think that will help a lot in enhancing enough confidence in children.

  28. This study is scary Smitha. I guess, it goes back to our wish of being perceived as ‘better’ and thus ‘superior’ than the other. That could involve having a better car, designer clothes or a better looking face or body.

    Yes, it is almost like that!

    I think the concept of plastic surgery may not be that bad after all but the fact that secondary school girls are considering it and the fact that almost 50% of them, does tell us how are we bringing up our kids.


    I agree totally! Grownups taking an informed decision is one thing and young children thinking that cosmetic surgery is the way forward, is scary..

  29. Would you believe if I say that coaching classes, even though they might enhance the academic performance of a person, might just end up making dumb engineers? Most of us have gone to these coaching centres (outside the schools) and will send our kids too, right? We do that because we believe that enhancing our acadEmic performance by any way (read muggin up, rote learning, forceful studies, memory pills etc) will improve our career prospects.


    You are so right! I did not think in those terms, but you are spot on! It is almost the same thing! And people/children who donot conform are made to feel bad! I personally know people who wanted to take arts but had a tough time convincing their parents! So yes, there is the pressure to conform there as well!

    It is the same with body enhancement too.

    You ought to have an idea of how much brain wash is intendEd during marketing campaigns designed by greedy MBA’s. And the people who get access to easy money are mostly the victims.

    Absolutely! You have raised such an important and valid point!
    Destination Infinity

  30. I agree that family has the major role in building a kid’s self esteem and confidence with she takes on the world. However (and this is from experience) at a particular age the influence of peer groups, trends, and the urge to gain popularity does take over. I think it is critical for parents to take on a more supportive role at that point and continue to emphasize what is more important-and keep ur fingers crossed!

    Oh dear! Hypermom – You are scaring me πŸ™‚

  31. Well I have alot to say about this topic. BUT it’s 02.07am and I need to sleep. So I’ll get back to you HOPEFULLY some time during the day. Sorry! 😦

  32. interesting smithus!!!!!!!

    I realized long back that I cannot do anything about my looks!! tee hee and I have accepted me as I am!!!!!!!! πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

    πŸ™‚ Yes OG, same here πŸ™‚ Have given up on my looks and my weight πŸ™‚

    but yes, the pressures in this world are many! and people fall prey to all these things!

    Yes, esp when people lack self esteem and self confidence..

  33. You know, peer pressure to look thin and waif-like is tough on a young girl’s confidence levels…
    And parents don’t help much sometimes… they either give-in for teh surgery or they don’t know about it at all… or they don’t have the time or patience to sit down and explain why its bad and why the child is beautiful in its own right.

    I agree!

    Hair colouring, eye brows, waxing – are all these done just to look good or feel good? This I think depends on the individual.

    but, the enhancement surgeries are a bit too much!!

    Thats how I feel too.

    We need to feel good about ourselves first and this always, I believe starts at home… and then with the kind of friends we make or have.

    I remember a school mate of mine taunting me and telling me that I was fat and dark. I also remember my mother telling me how beautiful I was and that beauty didn’t come from skin colour, but from the goodness inside… she said that its important to be healthy now, and not reed-thin because it would affect my health later on and that weight needs to be lost only for health reasons and nothing else πŸ™‚
    This helped so much, since I used to always receive taunts about being “dark-skinned”!!


    You mother is so wonderful! That is how all mothers should be handling such situations! It makes so much of a difference doesn’t it? I mean, if she had handled it badly – you could have been scarred for life!

    Once people understand that the way they look has nothing to do with what they are – I think people will stop looking at surgery as an option to enhance their confidence…

  34. Guess it is the trend today to look good and feel good.. while I would love not to go even for my eyebrows, somtimes I am compelled since everyone else does it.. πŸ™‚

    I wish too – but I look too scary if I don’t do my eyebrows πŸ™‚ I guess that is my complex πŸ™‚

    but then it all depends how happy you are with your own self.. nd I believe even the most beautiful gilr/boy still thinks he/she can be better and hence there is no end to this look good business and hence there is this new business thriving well.. and in India it gathered speed after the Miss world / Universe titles came to India…

    Yes, there is no end to this look good business! Yes, apparently it is thriving in India too!

    guess there is no real answer to this issue.. nd braces, hair coloring, dyeing are all a part of this.. so none can escape from this..

    Yes, I agree..

    but sometimes I do wonder what will happen if suddenly one finds dark skin better than the white…… this obsession with white might have started for a reason and if you look at some of those girls with dark skin, they look much more beautiful than those with a perfectly white skin.. [or is it only my eyes πŸ™‚ beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder]


    I agree – there are so many dusky skinned beauties! Good, clear skin is what people should consider beautiful rather than a particular colour. And a healthy, fit body rather than a pencil thin body which can hardly work..

  35. Personally I believe however much you enhance yourself in any way, unless there is something from within lighting you up, it amounts to nothing.

    Entirely my thoughts! It really does amount to nothing if you don’t have the substance!

  36. Smitha, you have echoed my thoughts, I feel equally strongly about these things. I wonder why people do this! And what bugs is when people who make themselves look beautiful by artificial means are declared the most beautiful by top magazines, or that sport stars on steroids go on to win medals or competitions…in fact just today in the Mumbai Mirror there was this instance of young man who died of a mild infection because his body was already full of steroids which he had taken to win the Mr. India or some contest like that.
    And if young people are doing it, then there is something wrong with the society.


    I know.. I can’t understand why either. I find it sad that so many people suffer from such complexes that they feel the need to take such drastic steps.

    As for this young man – such a waste of a life, isn’t it? I do hope that incidents like this serve as eye openers to people who are considering surgery or steroids..

  37. I felt really sad reading about Michael Jackson’s plight when he died, how much he was in pain after all those cosmetic procedures. He had a tough childhood.

    Such a sad life he had..

    It is very important to make children feel good about themselves as a whole, instead of just their appearance. I think it all comes back to how they feel about themselves and how much appreciated they feel.

    I agree entirely..

  38. may be a coincidence..landed in my inbox today.. coulndt help post it here… hope u dont mind Smitha….

    No no – it is perfect! It is so apt with what I wanted to say..
    —————————————-
    Recently, in large French city, a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said: Β¨THIS SUMMER DO YOU WANT TO BE A MERMAID OR A WHALE? Β¨ A middle aged woman, whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster, responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.
    To Whom It May Concern:
    Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans).. They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Barren Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.
    Mermaids don’t exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. Fish or human? They don’t have a sex life because they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex? Therefore they don’t have kids either. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who smells like a fish store?
    The choice is perfectly clear to me; I want to be a whale.

    P.S. We are in an age when media puts into our heads the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver and a piece of chocolate with my friends. With time we gain weight because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads that when there is no more room it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.

    So we aren’t heavy, we are enormously cultured, educated and happy.

    Beginning today, when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, Β¨Good gosh, look how smart.”
    ————————————————————

    While I do think that we need to look after our health too ..but there needs to be a balance and we neednt be obsessed with our body by falling for the media..nd yes.. why should we fall for false claims? one neednt starve onself to death or face the knife to look good… we live only once.. better live it happily and in love with oneself….

    I agree! A healthy and fit body is far more important than a thin, attractive but unfit body..
    ‘we live only once.. better live it happily and in love with oneself….’ – So very true!

  39. An apt pointer on how materialistic our society is becoming. Young girls go in for surgeries to improve their ‘body image’; Movies stars of course have to look good; Now in recession-ed times people are being made to believe that looking good will give them a better shot at that elusive job.

    But looks aren’t everything. Or are they?

    I would think not – but so many people seem to think that looks are everything.. It is sad that the way they look is the basis of how confident they feel, don’t you think?

  40. its more about society than the individual Smitha…. its the way world looks at them makes them to change the colour of their skin…

    Is it not a popular convention in the world that all the whites are nice??? some doing by choice.. many by force….

    a nice post Smitha… and thanks for all those links… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  41. There used to be a program that aired here called Vanity Insanity, all about extreme cosmetic procedures that went wrong. God, the people on that show!!!!!! FREAKS!!!! I’m so sure they would’ve been normal-looking before, and I don’t know whether its pitiable or hilarious that they paid to end up looking like that.

    I know! ‘I don’t know whether its pitiable or hilarious that they paid to end up looking like that. ‘ – I agree!

    But coming to the increasing number of young girls going under the knife, that’s just pitiable. And I think it boils down to a lack of parental guidance & affection that reduces their self-esteem to practically zilch. Sad, really.

    I know! Very dad indeed!

  42. Blog hopping after lonnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggg time
    Huh! I’ve lot to catch up on πŸ˜›
    Well…as a kid I also used be unsatisfied with my looks and also started loosing confidence because of that…but my Mom supported me big time and she just kept telling me that she likes me just the way I am and I am beautiful… initially I couldn’t believe her…but over a period of time I started believing her… and after some time I realized that world will see you how you see yourself. Everyone is beautiful… they just need to believe it. … and yeah… avoid beauty magazines… they’ll just make you feel ugly / uglier πŸ˜‰


    How are you Purvi? All settled in?

    Wow! Your mother seems wonderful! If all mums supported their children like this – I guess a lot of people would be far happier..

    ‘avoid beauty magazines… they’ll just make you feel ugly / uglier ;)’ – That could well be true πŸ™‚

  43. I know what you mean. i feel my breasts are too big, and that makes me look fatter. most of the people i have shared this with say they are just fine but somehow, i am not able to change that perception.

    its all in the head i guess. focus more on health, i say!
    I agree! A lot of times, we fuss over things which others don’t even notice πŸ™‚ ‘focus more on health, i say’ – Absolutely! And welcome here πŸ™‚

  44. hey smits how r u…everything fine..no post from long..

    Everything is fine – just busy πŸ™‚ and was out of town too for a few days:) Thanks so much for asking πŸ™‚

  45. Smithu me thinks you are getting too comfortable and cozy with this post…time for a new one plzzz…how abt updating poohi’s antics?

    I thought I would borrow one of your tricks and refuse to post until the comment count hits 300 πŸ˜‰

    • Smi, Tell the truth. You are getting a lipo. Aren’t you? πŸ˜€

      Shhhh, Sols! Don’t go around revealing my secrets out here πŸ™‚

      Lovely profile pic, btw!

    • Sakshi…
      I’ve tried visiting your blog many times before and today again but it asks me for a login.
      And my login doesn’t get me through. Obviously it wouldn’t be asking for your login, or does it? πŸ˜‰
      Eitherways, how do I see your blog?

      • Masood psst psst let me tell you a secret. You tried clicking on my avtaar and was kicked out? ahem πŸ˜› you see I am a CIA agent and it was a trick to keep certain people WHO-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED (I can give you his link though πŸ˜‰ ).

        Btw I already like you because you said you tried visiting my blog MANY times *sakshi faints* Let me come over your place and tell you the open sesame mantra that can get you to my blog πŸ˜†

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