I have a friend here who wants to become a plastic surgeon one day. Not just a doctor–she specifically wants to be a plastic surgeon. I really don’t understand it, because I really don’t like the idea of people changing their appearance with surgery. It seems to me that people are being pressured to have cosmetic surgery by the society we live in, which puts too much value on our appearances.
When my friend brings up her career goals, I change the subject. I don’t want to get in an argument. But I don’t know how much longer I can keep avoiding talking about my friend’s dreams, and I don’t know what to do. Any advice?
You are under no obligation to respect every career decision that your friends make, but you may want to reconsider the way you view your friend’s dream. Your view of cosmetic surgery seems to be incomplete at best.
The reality is that plastic surgeons can specialize in a wide range of areas. There were more than 15.9 million cosmetic surgeries and procedures performed in 2015, and not all of them were the types of surgeries that you may associate most closely with the specialty. Cosmetic surgery isn’t just for Hollywood elites looking to perfect their look: it’s also a vital reconstructive option for everyone from breast cancer survivors to burn victims.
In many extreme cases, cosmetic surgery can become a necessity for survival. Take someone involved in a terrible car accident or even a fire; in most cases these individuals would not be able to resume normal functioning lives without the introduction of some form of cosmetic surgery. It is also true that some otherwise perfectly healthy individuals choose to go the way of cosmetic surgery as a means of enhancing their appearance. It would be nice, of course, if everyone was happy with their appearance. But sometimes cosmetic surgery can be a path to a much-needed self-esteem boost, say the pros at Albany Laser, an Edmonton-based cosmetic surgery office that specializes in removing acne scars, among other things.
And modern cosmetic surgery is also extremely safe and, in many cases, minimally invasive, say the pros at Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Carlson Laser Aesthetics. In fact, minimally invasive procedures form the majority of plastic surgery business–which, by the way, tops $10 billion annually. Many of these minimally invasive procedures can be completed in a single day, and recovery times have also become drastically reduced.
In short, plastic surgery is about much more than just beauty. Even if you’re unwilling to change your perspective on societal beauty standards, you should ask your friend about her motivations and goals. You may find that she’s choosing this profession because she wants to help people disfiguring by illness, injury, or violence. You may even come to admire her choice.