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Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery Essay


Introduction

The increased access to information through various modern and traditional media platforms has its upsides, but over the past, there have emerged many downsides to the constant access to media. One of the downsides includes the pressure on women that is applied to them by the image that the media has promoted over the years. Women in different media platforms, including traditional media platforms like televisions, have assumed the culture of promoting the image of the modern woman as a perfect figured woman with a flawless face and has a good sense of fashion.

Social media has intensified the pressure as more women are forced to assume specific images in their photos. This trend has led to the development of a society whose members are actively subscribing to the stereotype that women should be slender with light skins, perfect hair, and enhanced body parts to attain a voluptuous figure. This culture has affected the self-esteem of some women, influencing them to opt for cosmetic surgery procedures in an attempt to look like the image of women promoted by the media.

A decade ago, the cost of cosmetic surgery was extremely high, and the technology that was available for the same was not as accurate as of the current technology. There have emerged professional cosmetic surgeons with highly equipped facilities for different procedures. As the cost of cosmetic surgery has reduced, more women from the high and middle-income groups of the society can now afford to alter their physical looks.

A critical look at the majority of the women that have undertaken cosmetic surgeries reveals that there are particular similarities in the results. Most women undertake cosmetic surgeries to enhance their facial looks and to increase or reduce the size of some body parts. This quest is always inclined toward developing the perfect body shape and facial features as promoted by the media. The media has played a major role in influencing the behavior of different people across the world. People are inclined toward emulating the behaviors depicted by various characters shown by the media.

What is more important, media is the main source promoting cosmetic surgery in women. As a rule, women like themselves when they look in the mirror. Often, patients come to the cosmetic surgeon and say that they have seen themselves a hundred times in the mirror and did not notice anything. Then they saw their photograph on Facebook or a photograph of their friend or actor and realized how far they are from perfection.

The media declares that certain beauty standards need to be followed. The mirror shows how a person sees himself, but the reflection in social media or the reflection of other women shows how the world sees a person. Both young and adult women come to the cosmetic surgeon. The goal of plastic surgery is easy – to look better when communicating with friends via Skype or to look like some friend or celebrity. All in all, media remains the paramount reason dictating its rules concerning beauty and forcing women to want to undergo the operation as discussed hereafter.

Objectification of Women in the Media

One has to look into the image of the modern woman that is being promoted by the media to understand the reasons behind many women undertaking cosmetic surgeries. Each day the global society is exposed to more than 2000 advertisements on different media platforms, but there is a clear indication that in most adverts, women are used for leveraging the interest of the target audiences (Beasley & Denesi, 2013).

It is also apparent that the majority of the advertisements involve women with similar physical appearances, which are characterized by voluptuous bodies and flawless faces. This has led to the culture of women using their bodies as marketing objects and their faces as masks to appeal to the global society.

Modern society often perceives a woman as a sexual object. Objectification of women leads to the fact that people are beginning to consider them as the object without morality and will. It is a process of dehumanization, which allows performing everything with the object. In other words, objectification is the process of objectifying women reducing her image to the abstract image of artificially endowed one with several characteristics.

The objectification of women is a concept that the media has sold to global society. Most people in contemporary social platforms do not see any problem with objectifying women. It is even sadder that women are also involved in objectifying their fellow females, but from a critical point of view, which is associated with an affirmation of their appearances. The objectification of women through the media has led to more women becoming conscious of the standards required for women regarding appearances (Adams, 2010).

Women are now actively internalizing the perspectives of observers of their respective bodies because the media has made it clear that modern women should assume a specific image. The quest to assume this image has resulted in the need for women to have some of their body parts modified, which is facilitated by cosmetic surgeries.

Cosmetic Surgery Pitfalls

The media appeals to women by revealing that it is possible to attain the perfect physical appearances and promoting the idea that every woman should join the quest to look like the image of women promoted by the media. However, media usually does not uncover the negative consequences of cosmetic surgery that might appear in some cases.

First, the beauty propaganda in the media makes women sacrifice much, mainly, the health, to match the ideal. The fact that the celebrities are not as beautiful in real life as in the magazine remains hidden by the media. Photoshop is the key tool making them shine while they look normal in real life. Some women will never achieve beauty ideals, but in the pursuit of beauty, they can lose a lot. The media states that if women want to be beautiful, then she has to be thin.

Due to the above statement, liposuction has become quite popular. However, as a consequence one can receive kidney failure, anemia, skin sagging, and scars. Certainly, it is possible to believe in the myth of the non-surgical liposuction, but, usually, a simple cosmetic procedure is hidden behind that beautiful name. Also, the woman should have a thin waist – the thinner, the better, even if the too-thin waist is unnatural. However, it does not prevent a woman from the removal of ribs that might cause pyelonephritis. Also, it will leave terrible scars that also need to be removed surgically.

Among the other causes, there is a negative reaction to the drugs used during surgery and intolerance to anesthesia. In some cases, after the surgery, patients detect thrombi abscesses as a result of the unsuccessful intervention. During the surgery, the surgeon may touch a nerve and major blood vessels. It is also impossible to ignore the lack of competence of the physician and the individual characteristics of the patient, because of which the tissue fuses for a long period.

Finally, all the above ramifications might lead to psychological affection. The result might not meet expectations leading to disappointment or even depression (Soest, Kvalem, & Wichstrom, 2011). Studies show that many patients undergoing plastic surgery suffer from obsessions of their appearance. They may develop a dependency that will push them to the following cosmetic surgeries. There is a common mental disorder, known as the corporal dysmorphic disorder when the women become so distorted in the perception of their body that no improvement in the appearance cannot convince them (Khazir, Dehdari, Majdabad, & Tehrani, 2015).

It is also of great importance to point to the fact that the results of cosmetic surgery can be subjected to harsh criticism from family and friends. Even though it approximates the women to the ideal, it also might lead to unpleasant consequences. Thus, the media reflects only the positive side of cosmetic surgery.

Symbolic Messages in Advertisements

The media has managed to dismember women through the development of advertisements that only focus on some parts of the female body as selling points. The trend has gained momentum in both print and video adverts, which has influenced the society to subscribe to the notion that certain parts of the female body should define their physical beauty (Furnham & Levitas, 2012). Thus, media becomes a powerful and influential tool affecting women in the issue of beauty.

While the objectifying images of women have led to the development of the idea that there are parts of the female body that should be enhanced or reduced, the media has insisted that the advertisements are only symbolic (Markey & Markey, 2010). However, there is a clear indication that the symbolic images have influenced women to alter their physical looks because the selling of perfect images has become acceptable in society. The affected women believe that the images of women promoted by the media are used as the scale to measure beauty by the rest of society.

The dismemberment of the female body by the media has led to many women viewing their bodies as different parts rather than concentrating on the image of the whole body. This has been revealed on social media platforms, where many young women only take photos of specific parts of their bodies with the hope that other users will approve of their physical appeal based on the scale of the image of the modern woman (Berberick, 2010).

While some women have the physical features similar to the image of the women portrayed by the media, many others lack these features, which make them lose the self-esteem to past photos with confidence (Davis, 2013). Such women are targeted by the growing industry of cosmetic surgery, and the affordability of the associated procedures has led to more women purchasing the services.

Social Media and Physical Perfection

The world has transitioned into a digital age where people are required to create profiles on social media that highlight their personalities, as well as physical appearance. For instance, Facebook and Twitter require users to have profile pictures that help other people to identify them. There is also a growing trend where people comment on the level of the visual appeal of the profile pictures, and most women use their profile pictures to enhance their self-awareness based on the responses from other users when they post a picture (Wheeler et al., 2011).

It is common to see girls taking pictures of the most appealing body parts and posting them on social media platforms because they believe that other users judge them by their physical appearances. The quest for the best profile picture has seen many women using cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks.

Additionally, social media platforms have also led to an increase in the number of women using various photo editing phone applications and computer software to enhance the way they look. The mass media in different parts of the world that are fairly Westernized in their cultures has been editing pictures to perfect the image of women in advertisement and presentations. The media has influenced society to view the modern woman as a version of female perfection, and many women want to emulate this image (Hansen, 2011).

The problem arises when the women have to live up to the perfectly edited photos, and cosmetic surgery solves this issue. Cosmetic surgeons have increased their ability to meet the exact specifications of their clients; hence, more women have gained the confidence to undergo procedures to remove wrinkles, change their skin tones, and alter the size of different body parts. This way, they can positively show off the bodies without the need for photo editing.

A study conducted by Klein (2013) revealed that the mass media has a direct role to play in influencing female students in colleges to develop eating disorders. The media has depicted a slender body in women as the most attractive type of body, and the persistence on the same has influenced college students to assume bad eating habits to tone their bodies to perfection. While Klein’s study focused on eating disorders that have been caused by the image of women promoted by the media, it is apparent that cosmetic surgery is also one of the options that are currently available for young girls to enhance their physical appearance.

In the past, most of the consumers of cosmetic surgery were rich elderly women looking to maintain their young looks, but the current players in the business have revealed that both younger and older women are purchasing their services (Slevec & Tiggemann, 2010). Interviews with some of the surgeons have revealed that the majority of the women use media personalities and celebrities shown on the media as the reference to the types of bodies and facial looks that they desire at the end of the cosmetic surgery.

The Media and the Psychologically Hostile Social Environment

There is no doubt that the majority of the women who undertake cosmetic surgeries are influenced by their lack of self-esteem to pursue permanent alterations on their bodies. Psychologists have revealed that most women are conscious about their physical flaws and the level of their self-esteem increases when these flaws are eliminated (Diller, 2011). The media has been involved in direct enhancement of low self-esteem in women because women are fond of comparing their physical appearances with other women around them.

The mass media in Western nations is notorious for employing the most beautiful women to present various shows (Roxby, 2014). For instance, there are news companies that have been known only to employ women with certain types of bodies and a very good sense of fashion.

Seeing that women compare their bodies with those of the women around them, constant exposure to mass media keeps women under constant comparison with the news anchors and other presenters. Additionally, television entertainment has adopted the development of reality shows that involve celebrities and other women who openly confess to having their body parts altered through cosmetic surgery. These women encourage other women to undertake the procedures.

There have also been reality shows that highlight cosmetic surgeries that have gone wrong in an attempt to show women across the world that the procedures can result in more flaws (Crockett, Pruzinsky & Persing, 2007). However, as if to mock the shows that discourage cosmetic surgeries, there are new television shows such as Botched that tell stories of cosmetic surgeons who fix errors done by other cosmetic surgeons. These shows have created an image of women as mere objects that can be shaped according to their preferences repeatedly.

Following the development of an image of modern women by the media, most women have pursued surgical procedures to rectify the physical appearance of the body parts that they believe are not in line with the appearance of the modern woman. For instance, one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries among women is changing the size of their lips to look more appealing to the rest of society (Swami, 2009). Nose surgeries are also common, especially among celebrities who want to look perfect in videos and movies.

It is also apparent that most of the women working in mass media companies also have flaws, but graphics experts in the production process have software that eliminates the flaws to give the public the notion that they are perfect. Young girls idolize these personalities, and they end up believing that the image of women promoted by the media is attainable; thus, they opt for cosmetic surgery.

The Artificial Woman

The media has created an image of the modern woman that is associated with neutrality in cultural aspects. The image of women that is promoted by the media depicts that the modern woman has a body that is not indigenous to any particular region or race. Many women in modern society do not feel comfortable with their natural looks. For instance, the image of the modern woman is associated with artificial hair and slender bodies with a hint of voluptuousness.

Naturally, women from different parts of the world have different physical features that are unique to them, and this brings diversity to the type of women in the world, regarding physical appearances (Chapman, 2011). By eliminating these unique features in women, the media has developed an image of a woman that is associated with artificial body parts. Many young women have subscribed to this notion, and they have been looking to achieve the image of women as it is portrayed by the media. Some women will go to extreme levels of cosmetic surgery to look like the perfect woman as dictated by the media.

Positive Points of Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgery services are becoming increasingly popular around the world. Some of the patients undergo the operation pushed by the urgent need motivated by serious shortcomings of the appearance both congenital and acquired. Moreover, there are several different reasons created by the media causing women to seek such services. To the door of the surgeon’s office, they pushed by the desire to demonstrate their status by changing appearance to emphasize respectability and success. The increased competition in the labor market is also forcing women employees to concern about their appearance more than before.

As a result, virtually every institution of cosmetic surgery and cosmetology in the world offers liposuction procedures of reducing fat in particular areas making it the most popular procedure in the world. The media claims that despite the age and lifestyle that is far from a healthy one, it is possible to be a successful and attractive businesswoman and manager.

The pursuit of professional self-realization is not the only incentive for women to conduct operations. Another common problem is the difficulty in relationships with the opposite sex. Many people tend to blame their loneliness for disadvantages looks, although they are often far-fetched. For instance, the woman, desperate to find a life partner, discovers the core of her unhappiness, says, in ugly ears or nose shape, undergoes a cosmetic surgery for an affordable price.

Often patients performing plastic surgery are people experiencing a midlife crisis, who pounced on their prey closer to forty. In this case, some of them see a way to extend a youth or a sign of the new life beginning using the surgical procedure.

The above reasons demonstrate that cosmetic surgery might be helpful to some extent. However, people are tending to overestimate changes in their appearance. The surgeon may adjust the shape and facial features but does not solve the psychological problems that pushed the women under the knife (Mulkens, 2015). Therefore, each solid clinic specializing in cosmetic surgery has an experienced psychologist, who holds consultations with patients before procedures.

Conclusion

There is a clear indication from the secondary sources reviewed in this paper that the media has played a major role in influencing the undertaking of cosmetic surgery on the part of women. Women are compelled by the perfect image of women portrayed in adverts and television programs to pursue the development of the perfect body. This trend is especially more common among women with low self-esteem.

A critical look at the majority of the women that have undertaken cosmetic surgeries reveals that there are particular similarities in the results. Most women undertake cosmetic surgeries to enhance their facial looks and to increase or reduce the size of some body parts. The majority of young women who undertake different types of cosmetic surgery are influenced by the notion that when they acquire the perfect body, they will be happier.

The media has managed to dismember women through the development of advertisements that only focus on some parts of the female body as selling points. The trend has gained momentum in both print and video adverts, which has influenced society to subscribe to the notion that certain parts of the female body should define their physical beauty. In the past, most of the consumers of cosmetic surgery were rich elderly women looking to maintain their young looks, but the current players in the business have revealed that both younger and older women are purchasing their services.

References

Adams, J. (2010). Motivational narratives and assessments of the body after cosmetic surgery. Qualitative Health Research, 20(6), 755-767.

Beasley, R., & Denesi, M. (2013). Persuasive signs: the semiotics of advertising. New York, NY: Mouton De Gruyter.

Berberick, S. N. (2010). The objectification of women in mass media: Female self-image in a misogynist culture. The New York Sociologist, 5(1), 1-13.

Chapman, T. M. (2011). Women in American media: A culture of misperception. Web.

Crockett, R. J., Pruzinsky, T., & Persing, J. A. (2007). The influence of plastic surgery “reality TV” on cosmetic surgery patient expectations and decision making. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 120(1), 316-324.

Davis, K. (2013). Reshaping the female body: The dilemma of cosmetic surgery. London: Routledge.

Diller, V. (2011). Is Photoshop destroying America’s body image? Web.

Furnham, A., & Levitas, J. (2012). Factors that motivate people to undergo cosmetic surgery. Canadian Journal of Cosmetic Surgery, 20(4), 1.

Hansen, D. L. (2011). Exploring social media relationships. On the Horizon, 19(1), 43-51.

Khazir, Z., Dehdari, T., Majdabad, M. M., & Tehrani, S. P. (2015). Psychological Aspects of Cosmetic Surgery Among Females: A Media Literacy Training Intervention. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(2), 35.

Klein, K. M. (2013). Why don’t I look like her? The impact of social media on female body image. Web.

Markey, C. N., & Markey, P. M. (2010). A correlational and experimental examination of reality television viewing and interest in cosmetic surgery. Body Image, 7(2), 165-171.

Mulkens, S., Bos, A. E., Uleman, R., Muris, P., Mayer, B., & Velthuis, P. (2012). Psychopathology symptoms in a sample of female cosmetic surgery patients.Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, 65(3), 321-327.

Roxby, P. (2014). Web.

Slevec, J., & Tiggemann, M. (2010). ATTITUDES TOWARD COSMETIC SURGERY IN MIDDLE‐AGED WOMEN: BODY IMAGE, AGING ANXIETY, AND THEMEDIA. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34(1), 65-74.

Soest, T. V., Kvalem, I. L., & Wichstrøm, L. (2011). Predictors of cosmetic surgery and its effects on psychological factors and mental health: A population-based follow-up study among Norwegian females. Psychological Medicine, 42(3), 617-626.

Swami, V. (2009). Body appreciation, media influence, and weight status predict consideration of cosmetic surgery among female undergraduates. Body Image, 6(4), 315-317.

Wheeler, C. K., Said, H., Prucz, R., Rodrich, R. J., & Mathes, D. W. (2011). Social media in plastic surgery practices: emerging trends in North America. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 31(4), 435-441.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 1). Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-persuasion-to-undertake-cosmetic-surgery/

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"Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery." IvyPanda, 1 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/media-persuasion-to-undertake-cosmetic-surgery/.

1. IvyPanda. "Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery." September 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-persuasion-to-undertake-cosmetic-surgery/.


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IvyPanda. "Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery." September 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-persuasion-to-undertake-cosmetic-surgery/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery." September 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/media-persuasion-to-undertake-cosmetic-surgery/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Media Persuasion to Undertake Cosmetic Surgery'. 1 September.

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