Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: The Medicalization of Appearance

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Medicalization is something that has become overly common all over the world. It seems as if almost everything, from aging to deviant behaviors, is medicalized. Human beings have a tendency to want things their way, so they strive to get what they desire. Little do people know “each instance of medicalization represents an advance in medicine’s control over the human body” (Ferrante Ch. 6). This may not seem like a serious problem, but as medicalization increases so does the chances of danger towards people’s lives.
If reports stated in Neto and Caponi’s article claim data “can’t be found in medical literature describing the anatomic details that make the body parts beautiful” Neto and Caponi 5), then why is society make it seem like there
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The ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) describes aesthetic plastic surgery as “a procedure used to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem”. Recently “over 10 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed by board certified doctors in the United States” (“Cosmetic Procedure Increase”). While both men and women use plastic surgery, it is more common in women. Out of the 10 million cosmetic surgeries, 90% of the surgeries are on women. In fact, “the most frequently performed surgical procedure was breast augmentation” (“Cosmetic Procedure Increase”), which is about 20% of the 1.7 million procedures done in 2012. This statistic is not surprising especially since women have more pressure than men to have a presentable outer appearance. Its hard not to want certain bodily features when society claims these features are what makes one attractive. Americans are good examples of conformers to society. If one person is doing it, then they feel as if everyone else should participate. One reason Americans choose to get plastic surgery is “it appears that certain facial features such as symmetry, youthfulness, and averageness are universally found to be favorable” (Neto and Caponi 6). No one wants to be left out or unwanted, so they participate in the act of changing their features. In Daniel Hamermesh’s book Beauty Pays, he
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