And I can feel my feminism fading away.
I have watched women around me for my whole life get some botox here, or a nip and tuck there. I think it’s very easy as a feminist to look down on cosmetic surgery as if it sits as the direct antithesis of self love and body positivity. But if feminism is about choice, is it not about the choice of the woman who wants that surgery, or filler, or injection?
But herein lies the problem. We as a society see women who are aged, fat, scarred, insecure or ‘ugly’ as less than, less worthy, less deserving of well, everything. And to be honest, that’s how I feel when I look in the mirror and see my scarring; it is a reminder of things I don’t want to remember sometimes. My scarring serves as a symbol for something psychologically traumatic and so I want to make that go away. However, I’ve been round in circles in my head, leave it, be proud of what you’ve survived, be a strong woman who doesn’t value her appearance above anything else. And then, I just want it gone. I want to run my fingers over flat skin, leave the house without makeup covering from my jaw to my eyebrows, and post photos of my bare face on social media without having to attach some cliche quote about body positivity and self love.
Walking into the clinic where I am having my ‘work’ done if you will, is a very surreal experience. The work consists of steroid injections, LED treatment and dermal layering, for the record. Across the walls are posters detailing other treatment options, a menu of weight loss programmes, chemical peels and labial reductions: as if photos of the models in magazines were broken up into a Mr Potato-Head style selection process. It really is a fascinating experience going to that clinic and I look around at the other people there: both men and women, and I wonder what it is they’re having fixed and what they think I’m doing. Have they noticed my scars and caught on? Or are they assuming I must be trimming my hips, my waist, filling my lips or forehead? I walked towards the car after my first treatment, and I turned to my girlfriend and asked her whether she was judging me for doing all of this. She said, no, of course not, because she understands. I judge myself heavily for what I am doing, but I also know that if I don’t do this now, my scarring will, with age and sun exposure, look worse and worse, and continue to be a reason for my insecurity and discomfort. But I shouldn’t feel the need to have to explain that. Somehow we have created a society that is an amalgamation of anti-plastic surgery “feminism” and an over accepting commercialisation of the body, where we can chop and change ourselves into someone new. But my reasons for getting cosmetic surgery is no more honourable than that of a woman wanting to change her breasts or get botox. I think as long as we are honest and open about cosmetic procedures it still has a place in feminism.