Monday, June 27, 2011

Here's Looking at You... If that Really IS You

by Jennifer AlLee

Plastic surgery. It's been around for awhile. But what used to be reserved for facial reconstruction of the seriously injured (a great thing) and erasing the lines of time on older women (not such a great thing, in my opinion), is now being used in an entirely different and most alarming way: to change the facial structure of beautiful young ladies. What's worse, they're doing it voluntarily.

A few examples...

Jennifer Grey

In 1987, the movie Dirty Dancing made Jennifer Grey a star. She couldn't go anywhere without being recognized. But she took care of that in the early '90s when she had a nose job. The famous actress was suddenly unrecognizable. Problem is, that wasn't her intention. She thought that "fixing" her nose would lead to more roles. Instead, it nearly wiped her off the entertainment business map.

Heidi Montag

Heidi Montag is a reality TV "star" (I use that word very loosely). Back in 2009, the 23-year-old woman had not one, not two, but 10 cosmetic surgery procedures. When asked about it, she was quoted as saying "I was made fun of when I was younger, and so I had insecurities, especially after I moved to L.A. People said I had a 'Jay Leno chin'; they'd circle it on blogs and say nasty things. It bothered me. And when I watched myself on The Hills, my ears would be sticking out like Dumbo! I just wanted to feel more confident and look in the mirror and be like, "Whoa! That's me!" I was an ugly duckling before." Seriously? Please, take a look at the gal on the left. Would anybody look at her and think ugly ducking? How sad that her self-image could be so skewed, and shame on the people who made fun of her looks.

Bristol Palin

20-year-old Bristol Palin is no stranger to being in the spotlight. But now, when the light shines on her, you might have to look twice to make sure you recognize her. The picture on the left is of Palin in September 2010 at the Dancing with the Stars premiere. She's adorable. The picture to the right is also of Palin, in May 2011. She's gorgeous, but she doesn't look like herself. (The first time I saw that pic, I thought she was Angelina Jolie.) She reports that she only had jaw surgery to align her bite, and also lost five pounds. I certainly hope that's the case, but I can't comprehend how corrective jaw surgery could change the shape and length of her chin.

So, what's my point? Am I out to bash all these beautiful women just because I'm jealous? Nope. Okay, I wouldn't mind looking like any of them, before or after... except for Heidi's after, because those breasts would lead to a serious backache. But that's not the point.

What's the one thing all three of these ladies have in common? They don't look like themselves anymore. Two of them - Jennifer and Heidi - have told the press that they regret having the surgeries. What does it say about our culture that beautiful young women would submit themselves to the pain of cosmetic surgery for no good reason? And it's not just the young ones... I could have put up picture after picture of older ladies who've been nipped, tucked, and lip-plumped until they look like plastic pseudo-people. But it's just too sad.

The whole point of this post is to speak to anyone out there who thinks they're not good enough because of the way they look. Be you woman or man (there are some truly heartbreaking examples of men who've done the same thing), please, please, please think long and hard before you change your appearance. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Consider this:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
(Psalm 139:13-16 - NLT)
God formed you. He designed you. He gave you those ears that stick out slightly, that bump on your nose, those thin lips, those round cheeks. You may not conform to the popular idea of what's beautiful (few of us do) but you are beautiful just the same.

What do you think? Have you considered plastic surgery? (I have.) Are you leaving it on the table as a "maybe someday" option? Would love to hear your thoughts

 JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her first novel, The Love of His Brother, was released by Five Star Publishers in November 2007. Her latest novel, The Pastor’s Wife, was released by Abingdon Press in February 2010. Her upcoming novel, The Mother Road, will be released by Abingdon Press in April 2012. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. - Jennifer's website - A safe haven for women living on the front lines of ministry.


  1. Timely post, Jen.

    My daughter and I were having a similar discussion the other day while watching an old musical with Ann Miller (Kiss Me, Kate). By today's standards, poor Ann would be considered too fat for the role.

    Movie personalities in the '40s and '50s were not the perfect synthesized, reconstructed, and anorexic bodies and faces we see today, yet they were attractive and more interesting (to me at least), perhaps because they were more identifiable.

    I couldn't agree more.

  2. I used to think about getting my nose made smaller. Sometimes I still think about it, but not often. I think I'm either more comfortable with myself now, or more accepting that I am who God made me to be.

    I was horrified to hear about the California woman who claimed she injected Botox into her 8 year old daughter's face. After they took her daughter from her, she said she didn't really, but was paid $200 to say she did. ????

    Not long after that, I heard about a mom who gave her little girl (don't remember the age, but I think she was nine) a gift certificate for her birthday. It was for breast enhancement surgery when she turns sixteen! (Oh, Barb, my exclamation point does not mean joy ;-))

  3. I used to think about getting something done in the jaw/chin area, because when I was younger if I was even five or ten pounds overweight my chin would double. Probably would have fixed my slight overbite too, but that's never bothered me and didn't even seem worth the trouble of braces. The chin is much better now that I've lost that "baby fat" in my face.

    But...speaking of baby fat, I have considered a few times having the damaged tissue on my belly from three pregnancies removed. It really doesn't look natural or healthy. I probably never will, though, and it does seem to get better over time. My youngest is almost nine. Who knows, maybe in another ten years it will almost be gone. LOL.

  4. Barb, you're so right. I watch old movies and think, wow, these gals would never make it today. Not because they weren't beautiful, talented women (they sure were!) but because our definition of beauty is so narrowly defined.

    Suzie, along those same lines, I cringe whenever I see ads for Toddlers & Tiaras. I know some people love that stuff, and I'm not judging them, but it kills me to see those little girls made up to look like they're teenagers. Why can't they just look like little girls?

    Dina, I had the same thoughts about my jaw and chin. Truth is, I don't have much of a chin. But after talking to some women who'd had the surgery done, I decided against it. One had lost all the feeling in her lower lip. Now, I'm just used to how I look. I don't always like it, but I'm used to it :+}

  5. And I'll be straight-up honest with you... if there was a safe, permanent way to surgically remove the extra 30+ pounds I am forever trying to lose, I'd do it. In a heartbeat. But there isn't. So I push on, hoping that this time, my new outlook on health and eating will stick.

  6. I've had the same thought about older movies. I was watching something from the 60s and was a bit surprised because the actresses all had rounder tummies and A or B-cups. Now that's something you don't see on TV anymore. There's a high school in our district with a reputation: If your parents love you, they get you breast augmentation. So, so sad.

    That said, rhinoplasty may be in my future. Not for cosmetic reasons, but I have sinus issues. I really don't want to have the surgery, however. I've said no for so long I may just hold out forever.

    What I would buy into (tongue in cheek) is a fat re-distributor. Sometimes I think it would be so nice to take fat out of certain areas and move it to other, less endowed areas!

  7. Susie, fat re-distribution would be awesome! I'd take all my belly fat and put it in my almost-non-existent butt!

  8. Good post, Jen. I think this phenomena is because we've become so visually driven. TV has homogenized us to some extent in that regional differences are quickly disappearing, and that includes the ideal of beauty. We are bombarded by images every day, all day of an impossible ideal. Impossible, because even the supermodels on magazine covers are photoshopped extensively. They can't even live up to their press, how can we? But we're still made to feel as if we should.

    Burns my buttons, and yet a part of me feels the same longing to be prettier and thinner. I've thought about surgery before, though not seriously. I have a feeling I would just shift my angst to some new "problem" area. I have plenty of them!

  9. I admit to doing some pulling and pushing at the mirror to see how much better I'd look with a younger face but at the same time I see that I'd no longer look like me. (Though I'm pretty tired of the 'tired' looking me...)

    I have a list of things that I could do if I was obsessive - remove the bat wings, eyebrow lift--oh and what's that fat removing surgery again? Thankfully I'll always be too cheap to do anything. I remember as a child never really seeing the things about my grandmother that she probably did so I just go with that thought. She was just right the way she was.

  10. Plastic surgery is a wonderful thing when used "correctly." Children born with cleft lips and palates can have a normal life etc.
    But it would seem that these days plastic surgery is very over used to excess. Sad how things like that can happen.

  11. Faye, I've heard that some of the plastic surgeons do that kind of surgery for children in need at no cost. They certainly make enough to justify that!

  12. Faye, you're absolutely right. What a blessing plastic surgery can be for those who truly need it.

  13. At the risk of sounding horribly political, there's something incredibly messed up with a system that allows insurance to pay for unlimited plastic surgeries and leaves uninsured breast cancer patients hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Call it capitalism, call it what you will, something is wrong with the picture, IMO.

  14. great post, Jennifer. I used to consider getting surgery to fix a crease in my cheek that's the result of an old injury. But some years ago, I decided my crease is part of my history and character, so I'll keep it. Besides, most folks just think it's an oversize dimple!

  15. Kristen, you're so right. You'd probably miss that crease a lot if it was gone!

    That reminds me of a story I heard about Cindy Crawford (the model). When she was just getting started, she wanted to have her mole removed. Her mother advised her against it. Told her that it was unique and made her stand out. How right she was. You can't think of Cindy without thinking about her famous mole :+}


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