Proud2Bme | Truth in Advertising: Cosmetic Surgery Isn't Simply a "Personal Choice"

Truth in Advertising: Cosmetic Surgery Isn't Simply a "Personal Choice"

By Breanna Khorrami--Everywhere I look I’m bombarded with advertising: advertisements for clothing, advertisments for electronics, advertisements for furniture.

What I’ve noticed more and more is that these advertisements, even those that are advertising furniture, often include a womyn whose looks are considered to be ‘hot’ as a means to sell the product. As if it’s not enough that I’m constantly bombarded with advertisements for things that I don’t need, I’m also constantly bombarded with unrealistic images of what our culture thinks a womyn should look like and, in turn, be.

In a way, it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one noticing this. Many other people have become fed up with the unrealistic portrayal of wimmin’s bodies in the media. On the other hand, many others have not yet recognized the fundamental issue at hand -- that the bodies portrayed are largely unattainable and unrealistic because they’ve been basically created in Photoshop, sometimes even pasting together body parts from several different photos of bodies to create one image. Some of these images are even altered to a point that even if someone wanted to look like that and worked towards it, it’s entirely impossible to do so. And that’s exactly the problem. The media continuously spews the message that we are not good enough, that we’re not just fine how we are, that we must always strive to be something more, different, better. Well, in my experience, I’ve come to notice that all of those terms vary from person to person. One person’s different or better is not the same as another’s. The same way these definitions differ from person to person, people’s bodies differ as well.

There are several detrimental effects to viewing these unrealistic images of wimmin (namely for those who don’t see these images as unrealistic, but as normative instead). Exposure to these images can contribute to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia and disordered eating, which is not considered a diagnosable disorder, but affects countless wimmin. As I grow older, I also see more and more of my peers getting nose jobs, boob jobs, and the like and slapping the “personal choice” label all over it. I’d argue that this is also one of the detrimental effects of viewing these images because we don’t make choices in a vacuum. If someone is constantly telling you (both overtly and covertly) that you are not good enough, that you are not pretty enough, that you simply do not have it, then you view yourself as less than or not enough. The decision to alter your body via cosmetic surgery isn’t necessarily something that’s personal, but, rather, a product of the culture we live in and the images we’re constantly bombarded with.

These altered images and their effects are not limited to just any age group, or even just to wimmin (though they effect wimmin much more often than men). If the consumer/viewer doesn’t know that an image has been altered, they’re holding themselves and others to an entirely unattainable standard. We’re seeing the effects of the viewing of these photos while oblivious to the nature of the editing of them all over the spectrum and it’s time to say that enough is enough. We need to set a good example for generations to come and teach them all a lesson in acceptance. We need to show them that there is more to wimmin and their bodies than what they see in the magazines. We need to show people that their bodies are different and normal and that’s part of the beauty of life: species thrive on diversity, and humanity is no exception. Repeat after me: “all bodies are beautiful."

Breanna Khorrami is a 20 year old community college student living in Los Angeles and majoring in Wimmin’s Studies.

Read more Truth in Advertising posts

What can you do RIGHT NOW?

1. Take it to Twitter. Use the #TruthinAds hashtag to share your support of healthier, more realistic media!

2. Tell your members of Congress that this issue matters to you. Ask them to join the National Eating Disorders Awareness Caucus. These lawmakers will be working to support healthier media and eating disorder awareness at a federal level.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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