For this week’s readings on the ‘beauty ideal’, i reexamined my beliefs about plastic surgery and my thoughts about what i considered to be my personal ‘beauty ideal.’ Everyone has gone through their own ‘awkward’ stage growing up, but the extremity of the stage differs for each individual. From my experience as a white child who grew up in midwest suburbia in the 90s, i had a rather mediocre childhood/adolescence. From the time i was a little girl, i never liked to wear my hair up because i was too self conscious, i liked it to cover my face. When i entered high school, i would never wear makeup or anything considered very ‘fashionable,’ because i said i wasn’t ‘into’ dressing up. But as i reevaluate my experience, i remember feeling rather self-conscious about my changing body, as most girls at that age do. I didn’t want to show too much skin or wear any makeup because i was too shy and didn’t like to receive the attention that it would bring. Even when i would receive compliments on an outfit as a little girl, i never knew how to react to those compliments. But as high school went on and i grew into my new ‘womanly’ body, i started to accept the new changes more. Now that i am a senior about to graduate from college, i have a very comfortable relationship with my body. Although it has taken me a while to get to where i am today, i feel more comfortable with my body now, than ever before. But what caused me to gain this confidence?
From the article “Surgical Passing,” Davis claims that our beauty ideal is not formed by one singular variable but by many; “identities are negotiated in specific historical and social contexts in which cultural constructions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age and nationality shape how individuals perceive their bodies as well as the kinds of bodily practices that are considered desirable, acceptable or appropriate for altering the body.” I agree with Davis on this statement because all of the above variables are interlocking and we feel the affects of each at different times in our lives and/or simultaneously. From the Davis article, i have also reevaluated my notions about plastic surgery. I had only really thought of plastic surgery from a white woman’s perspective, but after reading all of the ethnic surgery examples, i now see how plastic surgery has been used for many different reasons. I again agree with Davis when she says that plastic surgery is, in general a way for the individual to alter their identity. Whether it be an ethnic surgery, a boob job for a white woman, or even a surgery for a burn victim, plastic surgery is a way for the individual to change how they are perceived in society. They may already perceive themselves in a certain way, but it may not be what matches their outward appearance, and for some, this factor may be a detrimental one.
The reason i now feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin is that i have grown to learn more about myself over the years. I have learned more about the kind of person i am and the kind of person i want to be. I have learned to accept the physical faults in myself and praise the beautiful ones. I have learned more about my identity and how i perceive myself on the inside is also how i try to see myself on the outside.