Cosmetic surgery on teenagers Both texts, Valerie Ulene, “Plastic surgery for teens”, an article from Los Angeles Times website, January 12, 2009 and Camille Sweeney, “Seeking Self-Esteem Through Surgery”, an article from New York Times website, January 15, 2009, agree on the view on cosmetic surgery and query the idea of increased self-esteem to a certain point. Text 1, “Plastic surgery for teens”, focuses more on the surgery itself whereas text 2, Seeking Self-Esteem Through Surgery”, focuses more on the psychological part of cosmetic surgery.
Even though they show two different sides of plastic surgery they still share some of the same statements of problems such as: which consequences surgery can lead to and which image issues teenagers’ face today. The fact that Diana Zuckerman, The president of the National Research center for Women and Families, appears in both articles makes them look alike in some cases, due to the similar chosen subjects. In text 1 Valerie Ulene emphasizes the issues of the modern world’s view on beauty and unrealistic ideals.
These are some the primary problems that she discusses. In her discussion she actually refers to a study that shows no evidence of improved self-esteem after undergoing surgery. Valerie Ulene questions the surgeons, and that is where Dr. John Canedy, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, comes in. Dr. John Canedy himself seems to have a critical view on cosmetic procedures among teens as well. He doesn’t exclude improved self-esteem, but he thinks that the surgeons should select the patients carefully and after long consideration.
As I mentioned before text 2, “Seeking Self-Esteem Through Surgery”, focuses a lot on the beauty and psychological issues such as: celebrity obsession and makeover TV shows. Another person who shares some of the same views is Jean Kilbourne, the co-author of “So Sexy, So Soon”. He talks about the impossibilities of meeting the standards and values of beauty. Ann Kearney-Cooke, likes to characterize this phenomena as “an epidemic of low self-esteem among girls”.
Diana Zuckerman, which appears in both articles, says that teens often forget or ignore the fact that they aren’t guaranteed a better life afterwards and that’s a big problem. Valerie Ulene engages the readers in several ways. One of the methods she uses in the text is to personalize it by referring to herself and her beauty problems, more specifically her nose. This is something that appears throughout the text. She even mentions her teen daughter: “With a 14-year-old daughter of my own, I recognize how difficult it can be”.
By this she also refers to parents banning teen plastic surgery, and that engages the readers personally. Most people could probably relate to most of the problems Valerie Ulene talks about and has experienced. By choosing such a big issue she gets a lot of readers who are more likely to find the article interesting. Another method of engaging the readers is to strengthen the reliability. She does this by including several experts, who uses facts and creates different views: “there is really no data to suggest that it improves their overall body image or self-esteem”, as Diana Zuckerman comments.
The data doesn’t only support the experts but it also supports the importance of these issues. The debate of banning plastic surgery for teens is an all time debate that keeps reappearing, maybe not much here in Denmark, but other places like Brazil, USA, UK etc. The arguments are mostly the same when it comes to issues like this: on one side banning it would be necessary in some cases; on the other side we live in a modern world where people can be held responsible for their actions.
This is also the general view in this case. On one side we’ve got the Australian state of Queensland which finds it necessary to ban plastic surgeries for teens, like Dr. Pete Constantino says: “If they aren’t old enough to sign their own surgical consent for a medically necessary procedure, then they shouldn’t be able to induce their parent to do for cosmetic surgery”. Teenagers are incapable of making such a big decision at that age.
On the other side: is that limiting teenagers’ needs both psychologically and physically? The question is whether the government should decide which values, morals and norms are correct. In this case the best thing is to bane cosmetic surgeries for teenagers. Your body is still developing, and most teenagers aren’t responsible enough to make such big decisions. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Page 3, line 58. [ 2 ]. Page 2, line 26-17. [ 3 ]. Page 6, line 23-24.