Why Plastic Surgery Can Be Feminist
A non-binary person with a plastic surgery fund explains why plastic surgery can be feminist.
I refuse to wear skirts but love wearing my nails long, sharp, and polished. Most of the time, I like to bind my chest and/or hide my figure under baggy shirts. I'm also what one might consider a pretty staunch feminist, as well as a leftist extremist.
As you can imagine, this tends to make people assume quite a bit about me. In the past, people have assumed that I'm overweight (true), that I am crazy (meh), and that I'm not marriage material (ask my fiance).
One thing most people never assume is that I am a massive fan of plastic surgery.
In the feminist world, plastic surgery is often something that is taboo. It's not that hard to see why no one considers plastic surgery to be a feminist act, either.
The phrase "plastic surgery" immediately conjures up the image of anorexic girls getting lip injections, just so that they can look pretty for me and fit into their roles as "nice, marriage-worthy, sexy" girls. It's seen as bending over to the irrational beauty standards women are held to.
While I understand that sentiment, I have to disagree. I find plastic surgery to be the most empowering thing I can get, and have already gotten quite a bit of it, too. Here's why plastic surgery can be feminist, according to someone who admires it.
It's an expression of body autonomy.
The biggest reason that people can't see why plastic surgery can be feminist is due to the myth that women are pressured to get plastic. Speaking as someone who adores body mods and has gotten plastic surgery, this is not true.
Absolutely no one pressured me to get my teeth whitened at 16. Nobody pressured me to get lip injections when I was 20. Nobody pressured me to go to a plumping party when I was 24. I also don't recall anyone telling me that I "totally need" mole removal when I was 27.
The doctors asked me if I wanted eyelid surgery when I was in Eastern Europe, and I said yes before I went into the operating room. They didn't pressure me. They just asked, and I wanted it.
Now that I am saving for a tummy tuck, chest reduction, regular Botox, and a number of nullos, I'm actually hearing people begging me to reconsider.
I'm sorry, but that's not anyone's decision to make but my own.
One thing I've learned about society is that it has a really sick obsession with women's bodies and that everyone feels the need to tell women what to do with them, how they should look, and how they should make their bodies look acceptable.
Plastic surgery is my choice to make my body look how I want it to look, and it's going to be done the way I want to achieve it. I am doing what I want with my body regardless of what society wants me to do. That is the very definition of body autonomy.
But, the biggest reason why plastic surgery can be feminist deals with the way it makes recipients feel.
Getting plastic makes me feel good, makes me feel confident, and makes me feel in charge. In that sense, it's not that much different than going to a massage parlor to unwind after a day of hard labor — or getting one's nails done before a major meeting.
That being said, I'm not sure that comparing plastic to regular spa visits really does it justice. Plastic surgery is far more empowering than a nail salon visit, or even getting retail therapy in. The reason why plastic surgery is so much more empowering is because of what it offers to me.
A salon visit offers a temporary fix that makes me look okay, but, there's only so much that eyelash extensions and hair styling can offer.
Plastic surgery, on the other hand, brings me a lot closer to what I feel my ideal body should look like. Plastic surgery gives me the opportunity to look the way I feel on the inside. It allows me to feel totally comfortable in my skin.
Moreover, there's also a more personal reason why I get so empowered by plastic. I have stretch marks and scars from an illness I suffered. This illness traumatized me to the point that I have PTSD.
Getting rid of those stretch marks and making those scars fade via the right treatments and tucks would make a huge difference in how I feel every day. With just the stroke of a surgeon's knife, the constant reminders of the pain I suffered could go away forever.
Plastic surgery offers me the ability to control my looks, and help me cope with the past — and that's why plastic surgery can be feminist for people like me.
Plastic surgery helps me solidify how confident I feel in my skin.
As a non-binary person who was born female, I can honestly say that I know how well society works to destroy a person's confidence. This is doubly true of people who were born women.
If plastic allows us to regain the confidence we have lost, that's reason enough why plastic surgery can be feminist in its nature.