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My nose

2009 February 1
by Hillary

I read the article by Victoria M. BaƱales “The Face Value of Dreams”: Gender, Race, Class, and the Politics of Cosmetic Surgery. I really liked how she dealt with both ends of the spectrum of feminist views on Cosmetic surgery. I found it refreshing the way she didn’t ignore that there are some benefits, that these women are not just “blindly seduced and ‘lured’ by a sexist and racist politics of appearance” but at the same time there is a historically significant social context as to why these women want to look a certain way.

My personal story is not full of awful childhood tanting and a feeling of being forced into surgery. When I was in 6th grade I was playing field hockey with my 24 person class. I was playing defence when a guy from the other team’s offence came charging up and I don’t know exactly what happened, but sufiecet to say the end of his stick met my nose with some distinct force. I was rushed off to the nurse and then my dad came and picked me up and brought me to my hospital (my school was several towns away from where I lived). I was lucky on one level, it wasn’t broken, instead the cartiledge had been moved about and my nose was now slightly crooked. Now as I look back on it I realize that there was never a thought of just leaving it. I could still breath and it wasn’t that crooked, but we were definitely going to get it fixed. The surgery was short, no actual cuts made, and I only missed one day of school. When I went back to school I had a little hard plastic thing suck to my nose and then I quickly the got the nickname “Plastic Surgeon” and “Plasty”. I remember being extremely offended by the nicknames that suck with me through middle school. I didn’t like the connotations that I had been imperfect and had needed the surgery for asthect purposes. I needed the surgery to be able to breath evenly, especially when I was asleep. I think I was also offended because I have always been proud of my “English bump” nose and the idea that my nose had been made to look the way it does now and it hadn’t been that way before was offensive.

In 6th grade plastic surgery offeneded me and today it still bothers me. People are free to do what they want, but it makes me really upset to think that people would want to change what they had naturaly for a “more beautiful” version. I would be devistated had my nose had lost it’s bump (my mother infact is upset that she chiped off the bump of the bone when she was a kid) I think more work needs to be done to promote the beauty in everyone and there need to be fewer shows glorifying plastic surgery. It is surgery and can really help some people( e.g. burn victums) , but it is not a comodity to be taken lightly.

2 Responses
  1. The Doctor permalink
    February 1, 2009

    Your last comment really strikes me as similar to how I view plastic surgery procedures- paying thousands of dollars for facelifts and nose jobs and a larger cup size is, in my mind, using a powerful form of technology in a very flippant manner. How much are people willing to give to become normal? Is it really a matter of personal choice, or caving into subconscious societal pressure? If it’s not the former, then is plastic surgery really okay?

    When I think about things I’d like to change in my own body, most of it involves getting into shape (it’ll totally happen this year!) and finally giving acne the smackdown. I like my weird nose and the fact that one ear is higher than the other. And while yes, movie stars are awfully pretty to look at, so are normal people. You love someone in spite of (and sometimes because of) their imperfections, because that’s what makes us quirky, crazy, passionate humans. Not cyborgs or goddesses or robogods (even though that last thought would be pretty neat).

  2. dekman permalink
    February 2, 2009

    I thought it was really interesting that when I broke my nose, all of my friends assumed I would have the surgery to get it fixed, but a lot of my professors and other older people that I worked with were shocked that I would even bother.

    I ended up having the surgery because I had a laceration that needed to be stitched up anyway, but I’ve always been left with the feeling that it wasn’t entirely necessary. I also think that if I’d been a guy, people wouldn’t have been so concerned about my nose being a tiny bit crooked.

    I also think the people who I talked to about having nose surgery who were older thought it was a bigger deal because it used to always be done without general anesthesia! But since I could get it done without having to endure the procedure while awake, people asked why wouldn’t I do it? I’m interested to see how socially acceptable plastic surgery becomes as technology improves and the physical consequences become less severe.

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