Beauty

Is Plastic Surgery Really the Answer to All Our Beauty Woes?

How far are you willing to go for beauty?
IMAGE Mark Jesalva ART Clare Magno

If you've ever felt like you didn't like a certain part of your body—say, your nose or your eyelids—then welcome to what it's like to be human. It's completely normal to have insecurities about your face or your body. After all, who hasn't?

It's difficult—especially when so many people put so much attention towards looks. But would you ever consider changing the way you look? And by that, we don't mean using your go-to makeup to conceal your flaws or your monthly facials, we mean plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery among teen girls has been on the rise lately and some think that it's because of social media. Nowadays, we see so many beautiful, "perfect" faces online that it becomes easy for people to feel insecure or intimidated. There's also the case of unreal beauty standards that the media likes to perpetuate. Thank God for the more progressive movement towards body positivity, but we can't deny that unreal beauty standards are definitely still out there. (via Teen Vogue)

We recently spoke with Dr. Raynald Torres, a local plastic surgeon and an expert on rhinoplasty, about his job and what it entails. First, he differentiated between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is restructuring or repairing a part of the body that has been damaged (like through an accident) or is abnormal (caused by a birth defect) whereas cosmetic surgery is simply an enhancement and is mostly for added aesthetic appeal. Example: Ashley Tisdale's nose job for a deviated septum? Plastic surgery. Kylie Jenner's lip fillers? Cosmetic surgery.

In the Philippines, the most common types of plastic surgery done are rhinoplasty (also known as a nose job) or a double eyelid surgery, where people create the appearance of a line or a fold on their upper eyelids.

Because the Philippines is such a conservative country, most people tend to avoid talking about whether or not they've had plastic surgery. Unlike in countries like Korea where plastic surgery isn't taboo, Filipinos like to keep their surgeries hush-hush.

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So why do people choose to undergo plastic surgery? More specifically, why is rhinoplasty and double eyelid surgery so popular in our country? The answer is simple: our standard of beauty. It's sad and strange to see how many people want sharper noses or a double eyelid because genetically, our race isn't predisposed to have any of those.

According to an article written by Dr. Raynald Torres on his website, our beauty standards have been shaped by our colonizers, most of whom have been tall, white, and who have had sharp noses and double eyelids. As a colony for more than three centuries, we have been made to feel like a subordinate class of people. Our beautiful morena skin and our low, wide noses helped to identify us as "indios," people who were made to do manual labor and serve the colonizers. And even if these ideas, as we all know, are out-of-date and so 16th century, it's obvious that there are still people who believe, albeit subconsciously, that they are true.

We all want to be beautiful and there's definitely nothing wrong with wanting to look our best and take care of ourselves. You may already know this, but being physically attractive is an advantage in many places, even in the workplace. People who work as models, flight attendants, sales attendants, actors, and even businessmen and women are all sometimes pressured into looking a certain way, wearing makeup, "being attractive." It's not as simple as just being skilled in something. Unfortunately, and we all hate to admit this, physical appearance does have an impact—sometimes big, sometimes small—on your life.

Unfortunately, and we all hate to admit this, physical appearance does have an impact—sometimes big, sometimes small—on your life.

But don't think that you can't be successful without plastic surgery! Although more and more teens feel like they have to change a part of themselves in order to make it big, you don't really have to! Take for example, Manila-based Korean model and blogger, Hye Won Jang, who's never had a procedure done and probably never will.

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"I'm completely happy with what I have and I don't believe in altering what I was born with to meet society’s standards," she says.

And while she does acknowledge that the Philippine market tends to prefer white or mestiza models over morena or Asian ones, it's still an advantage for her because of her distinct look. "The good thing though, is that whenever they specifically need an Asian [or a Korean], they know who to call!"

Whether or not you choose to get plastic surgery is your call. Just remember that plastic surgery can be expensive, as it is an investment on yourself. If there's a part of you that you aren't comfortable with, why not at least go in for consultation first? The one thing you have to consider before undergoing any kind of procedure is your reason for doing so.

You may not know this, but plastic surgeons—the good ones, at least—sometimes turn patients away if they think their reasons for undergoing the procedure aren't worth it. For example, Dr. Torres does not recommend plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures for anyone with low self-esteem or for people with body dysmorphic disorder, which is a psychological disorder deserving an entire article on its own. If you have either low self-esteem or body dysmorphia, either of which can make you obsess too much about your physical appearance, please do visit a psychologist or a counseling center who can help you see for yourself how great you are and how great you can be.

Remember also that surgeries like these are not an assurance of anything. It might make you feel better about yourself and give you more confidence—which is great! But it won't assure you of becoming more popular or getting your crush to notice you. Plastic surgeons are doctors, they aren’t miracle-workers. Be realistic with your goals, and don't think that you can instantly come out of the clinic looking like an instant supermodel.

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Whatever you decide to do to your body, don't forget that you are beautiful. We know that may seem cheesy, but it's the truth!

Do whatever makes you feel confident—whether or not that involves plastic surgery, but do it for the right reasons, do it for yourself not for anybody else.  

You can follow Hye Won Jang's Instagram account at @noweyh and her blog at www.hyewon-jang.com

For consultations or more information, visit Dr. Raynald Torres at Room 2012 Centuria Medical Tower in Makati or Ground Floor Unit 9 El Molito Complex in Alabang. Visit his website at www.enhancementscosmeticsurgery.com.

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Ryanne Co
Fashion and Beauty Intern
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