I was made aware of this article about "Mommy Makeovers" from someone who, I am assuming, thought that I would be 100% outraged at the woman-hating idea of it all.
This is a new trend in plastic surgery where they do your boobs and belly, and sometimes more, and sell it as a package deal, with some corny little name like a MomJob. The aformentioned article presents a good argument at how messed up this is, and how hateful to women it is that we mothers are being made to feel like we are damaged goods after we so gloriously gave life to the next generation, and how sick of a society we live in to not honor our post-partum bodies, etc. It proposes a fearsome day when hardly anyone will know what a postpartum body looks like, and how abnormal is gonna be the new normal. Yeah, yeah, I nodded along in agreement.
But...in my own secret hypocritical ironic whatever you wanna call it mind, I didn't really feel all THAT shocked or disturbed by what I read. You see, I have been wanting to write about plastic surgery/cosmetic surgery for some time now. But I knew it could be a very polarizing topic, and I worried that probably nothing positive would come of me discussing it, so I waited. But here is the perfect time for me to come clean, and if you want to think I hate mothers or women's bodies or myself, then who gives a flying crap? Those who know me and the track record that I have and the way I conduct myself will know the real deal. Those who have a low ability to put themselves in others' shoes will also have a hard time connecting to my opinions and experiences, and hey, that's not my problem. So here goes.
Given that I basically agree that this world is an effed up place and that women have been sufferin from a bad case of The Hate since the beginning of time, let me be the first to say that I think that ALL women are super, super beautiful. Huge women, lumpy bumpy roly poly women, old women, saggy women, I just do not think that it is for me to therefore deduce that they are all necessarily comfortable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but comfort and happiness, well, those things are purely subjective. Are they beautiful? Are they comfortable? In their clothing. In their activities. In their daily lives.
(Now, I'm not talking about any kind of neo-psycho-babble "comfortable". as in "comfortable in her own skin"--no--I am talking about actual day-to-day comfort. )
I am talking about myself and many other women--people--mothers who, in this modern era, have the option to alter their body through surgery to improve their quality of living. Whatever that means to them. No matter if you think it is silly, shallow, or hate-based, unnecessary, media-fueled or just plain sick, I would like to point out something that this article, in my opinion, misses:
We are so ready to be open and accepting and "p.c." when someone wants to have cosmetic surgery in some cases, aren't we? The poor kid with the "crooked" nose...the poor guy with the big birthmark...what about sex changes? Advanced dental work?....these things are commonplace now, even among the not-wealthy, and for the most part, we all feel like good for them, or you go girl or whatnot.
But then we hear about Mommy-Makeovers and oooh that's so horrible! We think of clever things to say about stretch marks are badges of courage, and we all bust out our Willendorf statuettes. We say things about how sick the whole world is and how in a matriarchy, boobs down to our laps would be the hottest thing going, and how revering a teenage or even pre-pubescent form is just hateful pedophilia and detestment for the amazing life giving force that is motherhood--am i right? am I wrong?. But you know what? Does anyone smell a little pile of bullshit over in the corner? 'cuz I sure do--and its called unfair, unjust martyrdom and inequality for mothers.
We "Accept" every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Hollywood who botoxes their face into oblivion, we put up with hair extensions and orange spray tans and fake noses/chins/eylids day in and day out without so much as a comment anymore. But if a woman doesn't want a numb SACK of discolored skin hanging over 1/2 of her crotch, we take issue with that? If someone doesn't enjoy living with the discomfort and often sorrowful daily reminder of her c-section(s) being chafed and irritated and squashed into her underwear and outerwear day and night, she is shallow or vein or a product of a sick culture? And heaven forbid she want to feel active or sexual--we don't even want to talk about that, right? and what of breasts? sure, its easy to scoff at the assumed desire for tiny, upturned, high-on-the collarbone breasts, but what about so many women who suffer through pinched nerves, burning shoulder pain, spending hundreds of dollars on bras and skin creams for their gouged in shoulder-grooves from the straps digging in, from rashes and sores around their ribcage from elastic digging into their flesh--are they jerkos, too?
Think of how many innovations we have in these modern times. We have eyeglasses for those who might have been cast aside as useless to society only a few hundred years ago. We have back braces for those suffering from curvatures of the spine, and we have braces for maligned teeth. These things help the person cosmetically, for sure, as well as having health benefits most of the time. And surgeries-I could list life saving and life changing surgeries for paragraph after paragraph, but I think you can fill in the blanks.
Dear reader, what this is, is just more double standards. But not in the way that the stance of the article took. This is about mothers being excluded on the grounds of high morals from something that lots of other people are getting done without any fuss.
Yes, lots of the women say things like "I just want my body back the way it was before I had a baby", and yes, it is easy to think "Its not supposed to look like it did before you had a baby, idiot!" But just remember this: for every woman who might have what you think are the "Wrong reasons" for wanting cosmetic surgery, there might be many women who have some other reasons, and its none of your damn business. Moms didn't invent cosmetic surgery, and I don't see why they have to be excluded from it. Its just more of the same old "You went and gotcherself pregnant, now pay the price".
I think it might be sort of obvious by now that I have considered cosmetic surgery. By considered I mean dreamt that a gift certificate would float into my stocking--I don't have the money for that and I wouldn't do it until I was much older, if ever. But I hate what cesareans have done to my body, especially the second surgery. I also miss the days of bra shopping in the regular stores, and feeling more mobile and active when my chest was proportioned to the rest of my body. I went from a C-cup to whatever size is 2 cups up from triple D--some call it G or H, it depends on the brand, in about 6 weeks of my first pregnancy at age 21. I was so flabbergasted that I thought I had cancer or something--so painful and astonishing was the rate of growth that I could barely stand to walk or move, and even though that was 10 years ago, I still do not feel like these things can possibly be my own. So am I shallow, vein, or lusting after something inappropriate? Says who? When I have to listen to how magical the natural changes of motherhood are, does that change anything for me, for my daily experiences? Does that sentiment rub my neck out each night for a half hour, or take care of my kids when I cant turn my shoulders?
Cosmetic surgery has already been invented, people!!! Its already out there. So whether you want to get some or not, I just do not see why one group of people (mothers) has to get judged for looking into it--the very group of people whose bodies have possibly undergone some major stuff, and who probably have to do more running and working and lifting and hustling than any other group of people alive--why they have to be made to feel like they are failing at looking "real" or "natural" when in reality, there is hardly anything real or natural left in this world---yourself included--looking at a digitized box of back-lit letters typed by someone you will never even meet, sitting in a plastic chair, in a man-made building of some sort, under artificial lighting, dressed in synthetics, sipping your NutraSweet soda pop out of a Styrofoam cup. If you condemn a mother for her free right to research or even seek out or obtain cosmetic surgery, then you're judging someone who did do something very natural and real--they carried and birthed a baby. Or four ;)
Nobody should ever be made to feel as if they need surgery to be acceptable, attractive, or beautiful--mothers or anyone else. But I also feel that if someone wants to do something to alter their own bodies, whether it be piercings, tattoos, bleaching, coloring, lifting, nipping or tucking or anything else for that matter, who are we to judge?