The society nowadays has higher standards when it comes to beauty because of the continued prevalence of Western beauty ideology aggravated by the superficial concepts of metrosexuality, narcissism and exhibitionism. I say higher regard for physical good looks since before, it was enough to have beauty of character but now, some people equate virtues with stunning face. While beauty is relative, the dominance of Western worldview has allowed the permeation of ideas in the world society that what is attractive is having fair skin, patrician nose and big breasts. Being obsessed with sophisticate attitude, with being gorgeous and having something to flaunt to those who care to ogle at their body and face, certain people turn to cosmetic surgery in order to achieve the more-or-less Western value of beauty. Besides being used in case-to-case medical purposes, cosmetic surgery is done in an attempt to improve aesthetically. Media—from the royal people inhabiting Hollywood to our local yet mixed-race models in TV and print ads—shows that having large breast, being slim, having high nose give the perception of what is beautiful. Hence, going under the knife is a financially able person’s option to escape being labeled ugly. In addition, the growing liberalism amongst Filipinos opened the eyes of some well-off people that there is nothing wrong with undergoing cosmetic operations. In fact, some local celebrities openly endorse cosmetic clinics and doctors that help them attain and maintain their beautiful constitution, to the delight of the daring and moneyed. Despite the cost and risks of every operation, women (not to mention metrosexual men) still prefer to undergo surgery in a country renowned for its craziness over beauty contests and many things Western, beauty standard included. For as long as they can afford cosmetic surgery, these women shell out money for vanity. This, in spite of the general economic gloom of the country which causes not a few Filipinos to have a measly sum enough to feed the family for just one meal. Also, feeling side effects and attendant risks do not seem to pose major problems to these women, blinded by the obsession to become gorgeous and having increased confidence when they see their celebrity idols carrying on with their successful cosmetic operation. There may even be a possibility that these women are not even aware of the risks and side effects of cosmetic surgery. To be statistical about it, breast augmentation combined with the anesthesiologist’s fee and hospitalization cost between 50,000 to 60,000 Philippine pesos. Meanwhile, rhinoplasty or nose reshaping costs 30,000 pesos. On the other hand, eyelid surgery costs around 40,000 pesos. Finally, liposuction costs 40,000 pesos and succeeding areas cost 20,000 pesos. At these exorbitant fees, an average-earning individual cannot expect to go the extra mile and eventually subscribe to surgery. Therefore, only those who are financially capable can do so, and they compose but a minority in this impoverished country. For the ones who cannot let go of their dream to become just like the “somebodies” in show business, they endlessly try to find surgeons with discounted asking price. Thus, it is not a far-fetched idea that they get victimized by fly-by-night cosmetic clinics with quack doctors performing operations at reduced cost. There are fake doctors who pretend to have the expertise of performing cosmetic surgery. These quacks only charge their patient half the price. At this rate, it is cheaper compared to the certified cosmetic surgeon but this may also cause the patient’s life afterwards and may need additional surgeries. As mentioned, they operate in makeshift clinics that soon close, leaving behind patients who are not satisfied with the results. Damages like hardened breasts, lumpy nose, botched body and blood-and-pus-riddled infections occur, pointing to their bogusness regarding their supposed profession. General anesthesia can cause nerve and brain damage. Materials used in breast implants act as foreign objects and may endanger patient’s life. Silicone used in breast augmentation can be cancerous. Implants deflate and additional surgery is needed. One might experience severe pain due to improper size and placement of implants. While cosmetic surgery is subscribed to in order to augment one’s confidence, it is not highly recommended, if for the risks and costliness. Besides, the relativeness of beauty makes it susceptible to paradigm shifts, so what if today one has his nose done to make it pointed, but tomorrow the fad goes away to welcome the invasion of flat noses? I strongly believe that what is popular today is not necessarily right, so I think of myself as beautiful despite my Oriental looks, other bodily parts notwithstanding. It all begins with loving oneself, because it is the only self one has. If one so much as turn to cosmetic surgery just like anybody else does, what keeps his and other’s eyes, face, nose, breasts and the like distinct enough to assert a separate identity?
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