Spread Awareness: Plastic Surgery

“That’s what this event is about: embracing yourself. Spreading awareness.”

This from an attendee at New York Fashion Week’s first ever plastic surgery show. This year, celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Ramtin Kassir put on a show of his “2014 collection”, which he termed “Faces of Beauty”.

“If it’s done correctly,” Kassir claims, “you can maintain your individuality.”

Whether or not someone wants plastic surgery is certainly a personal choice and loaded with solid justifications. But why is it considered “[s]preading awareness”? Awareness of what? Last time I heard the phrase “spreading awareness”, it was in reference to serious illness or tragic crime. Since when is it ethical to spread awareness of needing plastic surgery? The idea of a parade of models, shiny and clinically changed, strutting their plastic surgery to an impressionable audience truly pinpoints what most of us have known all along – that we, as a society, may celebrate individuality to some extent but we certainly have a standard of beauty: a right look and a lot of wrong ones.

Offering plastic surgery is as mass product rather than a fairly extreme option, offering it as a “need” rather than a “want”, seems to be teaching the wrong lessons in beauty, individuality, and self-acceptance to our society:

Lesson #1: There is a right look.

Lesson #2: It’s not yours, and you need money to fix it.

Lesson #3: Your face must change as fashion does.

The ramifications of this first plastic surgery fashion show seem a little too dystopian. On the other hand, collective ideals allow us to collaborate. Furthermore, in reality, I (and everyone else) wake up in the morning and make myself presentable based on this societal standard of beauty. We do this to get more opportunities, better jobs, new friends, and decent reputations. What’s really wrong with that? But isn’t that just a smaller version of what Dr. Kassir is calling us to do, to conform to a standard of beauty? It seems that we are also guilty.