When scrolling the explore page we are almost certainly faced with curvaceous, large breasted women with flawless skin, juicy lips and a behind to rival the infamous Kim K. The rise of the 'filler culture' happened in early 2019 in my eyes and although cosmetic surgery has been around for years; it seems to be getting more common with the influencer and celebrity scene on social media with a particular popularity within Instagram. Young girls scrolling to look for make-up tutorials, or for the latest fashion trend are often confronted with 'un-realistic' body types that would be almost impossible to achieve without going under the knife. Let's face it; cosmetic surgery doesn't always get the best reputation - celebrities are trolled for it; parents are terrified of their little girl asking for it; and us women feel that men will prefer us with it. You can see why many frown upon it; but is it all bad? I want to talk to you about my experience with cosmetic surgery and aim to shift your thinking slightly to a view of acceptance rather than one of distaste.
So first of all, I may as well outline what surgeries I have undergone. When I was 21 I had breast implants, and in the last year I have had lip fillers and rhino/septo-plasty ( aka a nose job). I'm 26 and that is 3 major changes I have made to my body. When I post on instagram in a bikini, I am almost positive that a few people at least will think that I have done this for; Instagram, boys or attention.. or all three. What many need to realise is that there is far more depth to someones reasoning to change the way they look, and these 'radical' transformations are not always an impulsive decision.
Firstly let's discuss my Breast Enhancement. Growing up I was skinny and flat chested and I really didn't like it. I did everything I could to put on weight and yet nothing happened, my breasts certainly didn't grow. Getting changed for PE I would notice that the other girls wore bra's; I hadn't even been bra shopping as I was still child-like and wouldn't warrant one. However as I started to hit teenage years, I wanted to find the woman within, to go shopping and purchase nice bra's and to feel sexy and pretty. More importantly, when purchasing clothing such as dresses, I wanted to be able to fit into them without them falling down due to not being able to be held up. I hated the fact that the M&S AA bra's didn't even fit and left me with a massive gap. I first considered getting implants when I was 16; however I had heard that breasts could keep growing at that point, so I hung on in there and stuffed plastic style 'chicken fillets' down there until the age of 21. I remember going shopping with my mum, and I really wanted to buy a nice bra, in which I tried one on and it just gaped at the top. I think it was at that point when she realised how much it was affecting me. I HATED the way I looked; I was in my 20's and felt like a child. I didn't feel womanly and I would stand in the mirror and cry at my appearance. So I got breast implants. Did I do it for boys? Absolutely bloody not. Did I do it for attention? Oh Hell no. Did I do it for Instagram.. I didn't even have Instagram at the time. Did I do it for ME.. you got it, of course I did!
My rhino/septo-plasty is a different story and one that i'm not ready to fully share yet. But did I get my septum put back into place and scar tissue shaved off the bridge of my nose for others? NO. I did it so I could breathe properly and so I didn't have poor mental health every time I looked at my nose.
My lip fillers however were a slightly different reason. I didn't feel I needed them, and most certainly didn't hate my lips the way they were. I'd never been bullied for the size or shape of them and there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. I just honestly fancied seeing what they would look like a little bigger. Was I influenced by celebrities on social media and succumbing to a current 'filler trend'? Quite possibly I was, and i'm okay with that. Just because you like something that someone else has and you want it for yourself, it still doesn't mean that you are doing it for others, or for you to be able to get the same amount of likes and followers as they do. Sometimes we do things for us, for self-love and self-confidence.
Instagram is powerful and it has the ability to shift how we feel about ourselves, to change our perceptions of who and what we should be and it also gives us a platform to air our opinions on how others look and what they say. However it is not an answer for all our actions. If we choose to post on Instagram, it doesn't mean that we took that image, wore that dress or went under the knife FOR Instagram; it means we wanted to share it with others. If we start to see cosmetic surgery as a powerful notion that someone was perhaps depressed, hurt or felt inadequate before they had it, then perhaps we can remember to be kinder to them and positive about their experience, looks and journey after they had it.
Will I have more you ask? Probably. My teeth could do with straightening and you won't see me going wrinkly in the next 10 years; and hell... once i've given birth and my breasts change shape I may even get them re-done! Will I be doing it ALL for myself... you bet!