Plastic Ponder

Sometimes I write opinions or stories I’ve pondered; other times, uninvited thoughts dance between my ears demanding attention. Happily brushing my teeth, thinking of nothing except curling up under the covers, I was assaulted with the concept of a world without plastic surgery.

Imagine for a moment – no breast augmentation, tummy tucks, lipo – suction, nose jobs or face lifts. Muscle inhibiting Botox injections, eye lifts, teeth whitening, lip re-shaping, vein stripping, and laser hair removal – all gone. Ponder a world where beauty wasn’t a “standard” dictated by media and fashion houses. A world where people weren’t “flawed”, a place where armies of size 2 “fembots” didn’t greet you at every turn.

Plastic conformity is so commonplace we hardly bat an eye – perhaps Botox renders the task impossible. Children’s beauty pageants are jaw dropping surrealism at its finest. Kids not old enough to tie their shoes, paraded across a stage in full make-up, tangerine spray tans forcing fake eyelashes and prosthetic teeth to jostle for attention. Little girls “coached”  to dance, gyrate and behave like pop stars. Mothers scolding them for not smiling enough, forgetting to make eye contact with the judges, or being overwhelmed by pressure. Misguided concepts of self worth before the little darlings even start school.

Teenagers turn to cosmetic procedures to “fit in”, many companies request a “head-shot” when sending a resume, promotions go to employees whose photo will look pleasing on company web pages or facebook accounts. Only the “beautiful people” greet you in restaurants, bars and retail establishments. Any person hired for a position with public contact has to be aesthetically pleasing.

Dentists used to do dentistry, now they whiten teeth and are licensed to inject Botox. The drop in medical clinic in my neighbourhood keeps patients waiting for an eternity for 5 minutes with a doctor – who then limits “concerns” to one or two – yet has a swanky cosmetic practice, advertising laser treatments and Botox solutions. Yep, that will make you feel better. A friend asked a doctor at this clinic for a pap test – he responded “we don’t know each other well enough for that” and ushered her out the door – my guess is he would have found time if her cervix needed a little Botox.

Ponder a world without cosmetic assimilation; a world free to focus on merit rather than plastic perfection. Ponder a world without ever having the concept of surgical alterations. When I think of this world, I think of how beautiful “imperfection” can be. Trying to picture my grandmother’s face, her skin stretched like a tanned hide, or myself with breast implants is appalling. Raging vanity serves no purpose other than to further separate the haves from the have nots. Those who can afford “procedures” thrive, while those of meagre means better hope mother nature was good to them.

Vanity is at the core of what makes us human. I wrote this post last year, referring to “vanity” as the point at which mankind truly arrived…

Ponder a world without plastic people, a world exquisitely flawed, where ageing wasn’t viewed as an assault to the senses. Without face lifts or Botox, we could once again discover the beauty of years. Antiques are valued for their patina, people should be the same. Visualize beauty pageants replaced by blind interviews, or essay submissions – ponder “Miss Universe” chosen for her mind. Think of young women with self esteem; women spared grotesque messages that a D cup under a tight sweater takes them places. Imagine what we could accomplish if not inundated with  pressure to conform – pressure to become  plastic replicas simply because society has lost its mind.

A world without cosmetic surgery is just the beginning. Far from being a serious suggestion – for fun, imagine an election where the candidate was never seen, only heard. Lets say a Republican running in Louisiana – debates, interviews all blind. Voters are saying – where has this person been, this is the person who can get things done. When the win is a landslide, their identity is revealed. Not wanting to offend anyone, I’ll leave images of race and appearance to your imagination. In a million years this person wouldn’t have been elected if seen.

Mankind is stuck with several unfortunate qualities, there isn’t a lot we can do about vanity. That said – a world without cosmetic enhancements would be a far batter place. Plastic people are far from attractive; beauty is found in character and nuances, rather than desperate replication or sad attempts at cheating time.

Photo by Arjun Bagga at Wetstreet

3 thoughts on “Plastic Ponder

    • Good point – yet what if he were darker skinned and had a facial deformity or physical impairment?

      In hind sight I must be tired – Louisiana wasn’t the best choice to use as an example.Bobby Jindal believes dinosaurs and man were on earth at the same time, and that slaves weren’t treated too badly. But I digress – lousy example to make my point, yet a valid ponder in my book 🙂

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