It was a few years ago in an acting class when one of the girls, a few years younger than me, strutted into the room — and something about her had changed from when I’d last seen her. I nudged my friend sitting right next to me, looking for confirmation. “Does she look different to you?” My friend quickly whispered to me, “Oh, you didn’t hear? She got lip fillers.”
My eyes darted back to her face. My friend was right — her lips looked fuller, and her head was held high, not unlike the time she’d come back to class after getting a different procedure done a few months ago. “Isn’t she only 18, though?” I asked my friend. Indeed, she was. I was astonished that a girl so young and beautiful would feel the need to alter her appearance so drastically.
The Conversation around Plastic Surgery Has Changed
Growing up, plastic surgery was something mainly older women partook in, as their way of hanging on to their youth as the skin around their eyes started to crinkle just a bit more, as wrinkles appeared seemingly overnight, taking over their once-perfectly-smooth forehead.
Plastic surgery used to be something older women did to hang on to their youth.
Of course, magazines and marketing companies have been advertising unrealistic body standards to women in order to sell their skincare line, diet pill, or clothes for decades — this is no secret. However, in recent years, the social commentary on plastic surgery has shifted; instead of only older women seeking out treatments to remedy or rewind their signs of aging, the women who choose to go under the knife are getting younger and younger.
Social Media Tells Teens That They Need Plastic Surgery
With the rise of Instagram and other social media platforms came a bevy of young, attractive women to act as influencers, amassing millions of impressionable followers that not only look up to them, but emulate their every move. But these aren’t simply pretty girls that young women are getting hairstyle tips or outfit inspiration from.
More often than not, we’re comparing ourselves to their heavily facetuned, highly unrealistic bodies, and surgically-altered faces. We’re left wondering why our waists aren’t as flat, our chests aren’t as full, our cheekbones aren’t as high and defined. Even though we cognitively understand the difference between an Instagram post and reality, we can’t help but compare every square-inch of our appearance to an influencer’s and feel that we come up short.
Now, plastic surgery is a tool young women use to overcome their body insecurities.
With countless influencers boasting unrealistically full lips, foxy eyes, and button noses, cosmetic surgery rates have shot up. Teens who’ve used filters on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are far more likely to find themselves looking into plastic surgery. Social media platforms and influencers have continued to sell the idea to young women that beauty must be bought, that their natural face and body aren’t desirable. As much as we’d like to believe we’ve come a long way insofar as body positivity and self-love, our unhealthy obsession with Instagram baddies and glorification of teens getting cosmetic surgery says otherwise.
While the decision to undergo any cosmetic surgery is a personal choice, it’s also important to consider the reason we’ve seen plastic surgery rates climb significantly over the last 20 years. Social media and its influencers are undoubtedly the reason far more young women feel the need to go under the knife these days, and it’s an unfortunate truth that this is a symptom of the unrealistic body standards they promote to young women.