We should be careful with programs that celebrate plastic surgery | Belicons

We should be careful with programs that celebrate plastic surgery

Posted on: 
Tuesday 30 May 2017

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We should be careful with programs that celebrate plastic surgery

Last Sunday I saw a documentary about how men and women tried to improve themselves by having plastic surgery. These people already had the operation, but it failed and now a doctor tried to repair the damage. When I see such a documentary and realize that more and more youngsters want surgery too, then I'm really worried about what thay will mean for their futures. They don’t realize that it is about an real operation and each operation is a risk.

Still, plastic surgery is promoted everywhere and starting from 18 years old it is legal (and sometimes it even helps when they just say that they are 18years old).

Just take the TV program ‘The Swan’ as an example. In this program, the contestants feel unhappy and the solution would be plastic surgery.  I think that these programs cause more harm than good. At the same time I also see that the participants of the program are very happy when they see the new ‘I’.

Let’s take a good look at two participants in order to see what happens during these episodes. Note, the episodes on YouTube are shorter than the ones that were broadcast on TV. During the full episodes we could also see how the women lost their weight and that they went into therapy. The duration of their metamorphosis were three months.


Why did she want this metamorphosis?
  • She is insecure because of her parent’s divorce.
  • She has been teased as a child because of her ears.
  • She thinks that her thighs are too fat and doesn’t see a beautiful woman in the mirror. Her current boyfriend does think that she is beautiful.
  • She has had a miscarriage and right after that her former husband left her.
  • She does think that it’s hard not to eat tasty deserts.
What solution does the team of The Swan offer her?
  • The plastic surgeon wants to change her ears, but also her cheeks, nose and chin. According to him that will give her a more feminine look.
  • Another doctor wants to change her teeth so that they fit better to the rest of her face.
  • Furthermore, they will take some moles always and lift her eyebrows.
  • They also replace some fat in her face.
  • She will also get help to lose weight by having a diet of 1200 calories a day and fitness training.
  • And she will get psychological help to overcome her insecurity.


Why did she apply to this program?
  • She had been adopted and that had been difficult for her. She doesn’t look like her adoption parents and she has been teased because she had been adopted.
  • She has also been teased because she was fat.
  • She had a wrong boyfriend and that is still difficult for her.
  • Because of all these problems she gained a lot of weight but at a certain moment she managed to lose weight. She lost 45 kilos. Still, it is visible that she has been fat and she sees that each time when she looks into the mirror.
  • She really wants to feel good, to be something special, but that isn’t the way she feels now.
What solution does the team of The Swan offer her?
  • She will get liposuction around her abdomen.
  • She will get a facelift, an eyebrow lift, a nose job, and they will change her lips and teeth. They will also replace fat in her face and she will get a liposuction of her chin and neck.
  • They will change her breasts and teeth.
  • She will get a fitness program and a diet op 1200 calories a day.
  • And she will get therapy for her insecurity.

Peiling: Programma's waarin mensen plastisch chirurgische ingrepen krijgen zouden niet moeten bestaan

Peiling: Programma's waarin mensen plastisch chirurgische ingrepen krijgen zouden niet moeten bestaan

Poll: Programms in which people get plastic surgery shouldn't exist

Poll: Programms in which people get plastic surgery shouldn't exist

Read the blog that goes with this poll https://www.belicons.nl/en/blog/plastic-surgery

Body 2: 

To some people this may sound like a good treatment. They don’t only change the bodies of these women, but also put them on a diet, give them a fitness program and psychiatric help. Actually it is good that it is not only about fixing the outside, but still I’m not a fan of this program. Does that mean that I'm opposed to plastic surgery in any case?

Is plastic surgery wrong per se?

No, I can remember several examples of people for whom plastic surgery really did solve problems. I once saw a girl on TV who had only one breast. I can easily imagine that it can help her to get another one. I also saw a woman who had a eyelid that was as big that she could hardly see with that eye. That eyelid make life very difficult for this woman and in that case something should be done about it. And think of victims of fires. For all of these people plastic surgery can make a big difference.

In those cases the ‘mistake’ of the body is the cause of the problems. So when a doctor operates them, (s)he is dealing with the cause of the problem and thus solving it. This can also be applied to Erica. Erica really has been fat and has lost a lot of weight. Loosing a lot of weight can leave marks on the body and in that case it is possible that plastic surgery can finish the hard work. But Sylvia is a beautiful woman but doesn’t realize that. Her problems are mostly psychiatric and plastic surgery can make her feel better for a while, but the chance that that will help for a longer period of time is very small.

But improving is the aim, not to deal with the causes

If this program would really deal with the causes and only make the participants have plastic surgery if they really need it, then it could actually be a good program. In The Netherlands we had the TV program Obese which is a good example of this. In Obese the participants needed to work hard and got therapy in order to lose weight. If they had lost enough weight at the end of their course, plastic surgeons took away the surplus of skin that the participants had. The duration of these courses was a year, not just three months.

What is going wrong in The Swan?

  1. The plastic surgery takes a central place, but the eating or therapy

    They don’t only take Erica’s surplus of skin away, they also change her face and neck. The same happens to Sylvia. She says that she feels too fat and that she doesn’t like her ears. But subsequently they change a lot more in her face. Both women have psychiatric problems and think that this can be fixed by changing her bodies and the doctor makes it only worse by suggesting that even more changes are needed.

    If the creators of The Swan would only see plastic surgery  as an option if it would be a lasting improvement of the lives of these women, then they could contribute something positive to their lives. But that won't happen by telling them that they even have more problems then they thought in the first place.

  2. A diet of 1200 calories is too little

    These women also get a crash diet. This means that they eat far too little and because of that loose a lot of weight quickly. That they look good during the show is logical. But is isn’t good to eat like this for a long period, especially not if one exercises too.

    People who want to lose weight often see calories as their enemies. But they aren’t. Calories are energy that we need to get through the day. Moreover, if you eat enough and healthy, then you also take on a lot of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to be healthy. If you follow a crash diet of 1200 calories, you aren’t able to take in enough nutrients. Moreover, after the diet most people start to eat more again and then they gain their weights again.

    The only thing that helps to lose weight that doesn’t come back any more, is to eat healthy for a long time and to exercise enough. In that case losing weight goes slow, but in the end it’s the most durable way.

  3. What does this all say to the viewing public?

    Like I said at the beginning of this blog, the participants of The Swan are very happy with how they look at the end. This is being reinforced because the creators have deliberately made pictures of the women before their operations in which they look grumpy and wear no make-up. But on the pictures after their operations, they smile and wear nice dresses and the right make-up. in THat way, without any treatment, they already look better.

    Because of their happiness it seems as if the plastic surgery did change them on the outside as well as on the inside. For that reason it doesn’t surprise me that more and more people, especially youngsters, want to ‘fix’ things too. Youngsters are in a phase in which they are very insecure about themselves. If they then see something like this and they also have the possibility to have an operation themselves: why not? It doesn't hurt to try.

    What they don’t show is that these operations aren’t just a one time thing. If one has one, need will need more. Moreover, if it addictive too. If you have changed something that wasn’t really necessary, then later on, you’ll see something else that you don’t like. This will be even worse when there is no one to help you to eat and exercise enough and to get over your mental problems.

    What does this all mean to us?

    What strikes me is that many people really hate these TV programs. But just hating them is not going to solve anything. It is just a fact that more and more youngsters do want to have something ‘fixed’ without realizing what this will mean for their futures.

    We should all care about this, for a major cause of this is our present society and we can all contribute to changing that. Just think of all the celebrities who change their appearances and all the pictures of models that are being photoshopped. Youngsters see that and want the same thing. Something else that is a big influence are all the places we can eat these days. We get seduced everywhere to eat too much. Moreover, most people don’t exercise enough and because of that we get overweight. Youngsters adapt to our lifestyles, become overweight too and want to get rid of that fat. And in this age they have the possibility to do so.

    We need to learn what is health, how to become healthy and how to stay healthy. If someone has a problem of which the cause can be fixed with plastic surgery, then that is okay of course. But as soon as it is about improvement of the body, then in the long haul, it won't help that person. If we learn this as youngsters, we can explain this to youngers and show them another way of living.

    What do you think? Are programms in which plastic surgery is being celebrated a problem? Or do they enable people to improve their lives? Share your opinion, below, or on the forum!

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