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Camille Lowry

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The Battle of the Body Is Invading My Mind

Posted: 08/08/11 02:51 PM ET

I feel attacked. I am mentally under siege by the constant mention of plastic surgery in the media. I can't help but ask -- why are we now bombarded by articles of who's had work done or the newest procedure? Of course, I know surgeons and potion makers need exposure to sell their services and products. And for the media these topics can be a draw. I'm not naïve; this is big business. But this barrage strikes me as oppressive.

I'll be flipping through a fashion magazine looking for some cute wedges and bam -- I'm hit with an article about how certain sleep positions will wrinkle your face. Honestly, I just want to be able to lie down and crash out at night. I don't want to feel obligated to be on my back, being a side sleeper. Nor do I think I will look more refreshed, if while trying to avoid creases I must lie in a way that's unnatural to me. Is it just me, or do you find these "helpful hints" unhelpful as well?

What's worse is plastic surgery coverage is everywhere. I'll be in the grocery store checkout line waiting to buy granola, fabric softener, what have you -- and right in my line of vision are magazines featuring photo collages of dimpled backsides of famous people implying they could use cellulite treatments.

It's nearly impossible to go on the web without seeing some blurb about who's been plumped, vacuumed or pulled. We are presented with before and after surgery photos -- a face present tense, beside a new face, which is attempting to replicate the face of the past. Then there are warning tales of plastic surgery disasters. Those left not looking refreshed or improved -- but visually hijacked.

Many of these articles create new concerns. It never occurred to me that I had a fine crease at the bridge of my nose, until I read an item about getting Botox there to fix the so-called " bunny line." (Which is caused by crinkling up your nose like a rabbit.) Who knew that it was called that? Once I did, I couldn't help notice how many people had them. Did I really need this new awareness? I think not. Facial lines can be exacerbated by stress, and these articles are stressing me out.

I don't want these people's surgical offerings in my head. I don't want to ruminate on my facial options. I'd prefer to focus on other things in life -- love, family, health and pressing issues in the world.

Not that I think plastic surgery needs to be discussed with hushed tones. But I seriously doubt that my mother thought about the subject as much as women, and even girls, do now. And that's what troubles me -- that through constant exposure to plastic surgery, concerns about appearance can take root. I've read that young girls are now worrying early about how their faces will falter. I can't help but feel that is unfair. Because one of the best things about being young is being carefree.

One of my main facial expressions is raising my eyebrows. They rise when I laugh, when I am angered, when deep in thought. They rise automatically as I dig in my purse for something, as if their lift will pull out the item that's been swallowed whole. My eyebrows are raised now, as I type. As a result I've got a big ole crease in the middle of my forehead, the very line that Botox or Dysport could easily eradicate. But I have chosen, for now, to go with acceptance rather than fight it.

When I was a kid, a family friend who'd been under knife saw me raise my brows and said, "Stop making that expression, or you will get wrinkles." My mother swatted at her and said, "Don't put that idea in her mind." I was 13; still young enough then that I felt immune to her comment. But over the years, as I've looked in the mirror, I have revisited that conversation. A concern placed on me born from the fears of another person. And I resent it for giving me pause about the way my face moves.

I pass no judgment on the people who have decided to get work done. But life is tough enough without plastic surgery propaganda and its added pressure. Especially because with the very thought of it I can feel my "bunny line" deepen.