Why Women Feel The Need To Hide Plastic Surgery
Has the body positive movement made us love our bodies more or just feel shame when we don't? Are we more afraid now to admit that we don't?
Early on in my body-positive journey, very shortly after I went viral, I remember receiving a comment:
‘You are lying when you are saying you have no bad body image days! You are setting a standard that is unrealistic for others’
Of course, I wasn’t lying. They were taking what I had said out of context. What I had actually said is that I have no bad body image days but I do have bad body image thoughts. I can’t control what I think and because I grew up in diet culture for years before I learned better, those thoughts definitely still exist. I just don’t pay attention to them, they don’t derail my day and they don’t consume any more time than the time it takes to think the thought because I don’t attach to the thought or create a conversation in my head about it. When my brain says ‘Your thighs are ugly’ it’s an absurd thought to me as if my brain saying ‘Your hair is blue’. My next thought is ‘Well, no it isn’t’ and then I go on with my day, a day that is unaffected by how big my thighs are because it is largely sitting at a desk answering emails.
Growth Spurts with Michelle Elman is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Somehow the conversation of body positivity has gotten lost along the way with the leaders being closer to the beauty ideal than not and whilst that is a conversation for another day, I want to ask when did the message go from ‘you are not alone in your insecurities’ to ‘you shouldn’t have insecurities’. For me, it was when the body-positive movement started to lack the educational element. I got into the movement to teach people that your insecurities are not your fault, to inform people that it is a calculated plan by the diet, beauty and fashion industries and to give accessible tips and tools on how to unlearn all the junk in your brain about what you should look like and the beauty ideal and that doesn’t seem to be included in the movement anymore. Enter concocted body rolls from a size 8 person promoting a brand that does do above an XL.
I think the other change that has occurred is that we are still emphasising looks when we tell everyone that they are beautiful and whilst, yes, I do believe everybody holds beauty, I think far more importantly, you are more than your body.
The reason though, that people feel shame about plastic surgery, is something else. It’s because we have lost sight of the common enemy and therefore we blame the individual rather than the system. We shame the woman who gets plastic surgery, rather than the system that makes her feel that way and that’s why we have started to use body positivity as a stick to beat people with.
If you would like to keep reading this, subscription costs as little as £1.10/week - less than buying a card with two words in it! It not only gives you access to articles like these but also my monthly Q&As, all my book reviews and recommendations, the first to know about any announcements and my roundups each month of all the things I have been learning. We would love to welcome you into our little community- join us! xx