Body Image: What is fake? What is natural?

Someone asked me a question on my formspring and it really got me thinking. It's a specific question, but I generalized it into the entire spectrum of plastic surgery and body image. I thought it was a really good question and I wanted to open it up to the rest of you so I could hear your thoughts and opinions. Here is the question and MY opinion. (If your opinion is radically different, that's awesome! This isn't a debate and there is no right or wrong answer! This is merely a stating of opinions and beliefs! We can all be adults here!)

Question: What is your opinion of women who get boob jobs or plastic surgery? Do you think they're fake?

My answer (plus elaboration): Good question! No, I do not feel as though they are fake. There are some women out there who I PERSONALLY feel may be "overdoing" it, but I'm not in their body or mind, so I can't even begin to imagine how they seem themselves.

While I have always felt that I wish more women could be comfortable in their own/natural skin, even I am guilty of not feeling my best when I'm 100% natural. Yes, I do wear hair extensions, I dye my hair, I fill in my eyebrows and sometimes I sport colored contacts. But I do this because I feel comfortable doing it. I think people should do whatever they think is necessary to feel their best. If that means breast augmentation or veneers or covering their bodies in tattoos, so be it. I'm not that person so I don't feel comfortable passing judgement on anyone. The difference is, I wish people would make these changes because THEY want to... not because they feel like they will be more widely accepted by society (because we've all seen that this is usually not the case). Sometimes we see a gal with an obvious breast augmentation or pouty injected lips and we don't stop for one second to think about how they must see themselves. Instead, we pass judgement immediately and deem them "fake." To me, THIS is what is wrong with our society.

I may have come to terms with certain aspects of myself like my size or my not-so-perfect smile or whatever, and these are things that can be fixed with surgery or whatever else, but there are definitely days when I hate the way I look. We all have bad days. My teeth are too crooked or my face too round. My butt too big, etc. I don't feel like that makes me a hypocrite (though some will argue).

I wish we, as a society, didn't feel like we needed to play into someone's ridiculous image of the "perfect" man or woman, but we all fall victim to it at some point or another. This is something that could easily be fixed by changing our mindset to not automatically judge someone based on what we see. Either she's too fat or too fake or too tan or wearing too much makeup. Even the skinniest of gals have body issues. This "disease" of our mind does not have a target demographic. It's an epidemic that includes and infects every. single. person. whether we want to admit it or not.

Some of you leave comments to me saying you wish I'd be more "all natural" or go back to my dark hair or you love my red hair, etc. While I appreciate all of your comments and concern, even the opinions that are different from my own, I wish you could realize that I do these things because I feel comfortable doing them. Maybe I fill in my eyebrows because I'm self conscious of them without it. (Even if you think they're unattractive... it's not your place to judge me for it. and it's certainly not beneficial to anyone to leave unsolicited comments saying so.) People ask for pictures of me without makeup because I'd "look so much prettier" but they don't realize how detrimental comments like that can be! It's not suddenly okay to say those things because you pin a backhanded compliment to it. While I may parade around in many places without makeup or without doing my hair, I don't feel 100% comfortable posting those photos online because no matter what, SOMEONE will have some incredibly rude to say. Even if it's "you're so much prettier here! [without makeup]" because instead of taking that kindly, I'll start thinking "I look so fake!" when I wear makeup. It doesn't benefit anyone. Maybe Mary Ann likes her breasts to be a fuller C cup as opposed to her natural A's.... it's not our place to tell her they look awful. She's trying to feel better about HERSELF. She's not trying to please us. Just like I'm not trying to please you, and I don't expect you to try to please me.

What about the transgendered community? Do you feel like a "man" who undergoes gender reassignment surgery to become the woman he's always identified with is fake? He's bypassing nature, right? When you dumb it down to the very basics, you start to realize the flaws in our mindset. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone or blaming you, I'm just saying that we've all been there. We've all been the judge and the judged in life. Don't you think the world would be a better place if we accepted everyone for who they wanted to be and how they wanted to look?

Some people will argue that my use of hair extensions and colored contacts makes me fake or makes me a hypocrite because I preach that we should all love ourselves, but I think we should love OURSELVES most importantly. Mega emphasis on OURSELVES! We shouldn't have to love what our next door neighbor does with his beard (even if we think it looks a little weird). We don't have to necessarily agree with everything everyone else does, but we should respect it, as long as it's not hurting anyone. 

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now! I just want to hear YOUR thoughts! Do you feel like plastic surgery or hair dye or extensions makes someone fake? Is there a fine line for you? 

(This is merely a discussion thread! Not to provoke or promote ignorant comments or remarks toward others! Please keep it civil!)



  1. I don't feel there's anything particularly dreadful about plastic surgery. I look at it the same way as tattoos- if you think about what you want long enough and do your research, then why not?
    I think it becomes an issue when people use cosmetic surgery to fix problems that aren't physical. Sometimes, no amount of plastic surgery is going to make a person feel the way they want because their insecurities are too all-consuming.

  2. I really enjoyed this post because I can relate to it very much. Sometimes plastic surgery isn't just for image, it's for replace or restore the natural things people have never or once had. I had porcelain veneers put in 2006. It wasn't because I hated my teeth or I wanted to look like a celebrity and have a perfect image, it was because I grew up missing 18 permanent teeth and my body lacked the vitamins and needs to produce teeth. It was required for me to have mine done so I could chew I think plastic surgery is good when we use it for burn victims, defects, scars, etc. On the other hand I do agree that plastic surgery is bad when someone would go out and get a boob job to look just like Kim Kardashian or Heidi Montag when the person themselves are beautiful. It's a very tricky question, but there is always a good and bad side to everything.


  3. i agree, if getting a boob/nose job, wearing hair extensions, or any other kind of plastic surgery makes you more confident and love yourself more..then that's great! and its your right to do so! i dont think it makes you a fake person

    have a good weekend :)

  4. what a wonderful post! i agree with everything you said. really people should think before they speak.


  5. I guess I should have commented before I read your post, because I agree with everything you say. I color my hair -all the time. I have tattoos, I do not have any plastic surgery or anything, but I do have a goal to get my teeth fixed.
    Like you, I have softball legs. My calfs are HUGE and my thighs are even bigger. I have the arms to go with it. I love my body. If i could get my teeth fixed, i'd be even happier.

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Keep up the good work:)

  6. So, so true! I definitely don't try to match my "peers" and often stick out from my friends, so I'm not feeding society's ideal, but I still do alter myself (lipstick, heels, etc) in pursuit of something!
    Someone told me "you would look prettier if you did ___" My reply, "I don't care about that type of pretty." Even if I could look 100% better in 95% of the world's eyes, I'd rather look better to myself in the mirror.

  7. I'm for plastic surgery if the person was in an accident or birth disfect. Why look artifical? I don't like men could take you serious if you looked like a porn star.

  8. I believe that getting your teeth fixed or dying your hair is not in the same realm as breast augmentation to the Nth extreme (a la Heidi) or permanently surprised eyebrows.
    Any surgery done to improve a person's quality of life- teeth implants, scar removal, reconstructions- are definitely worthwhile. Dying your hair or getting extensions is like changing your clothes to me. Each is a choice to change for a bit.
    However, there is a difference in going from an A to a C and going from a C to an EE. The first can make a woman more comfortable in society, the second is just for show. I blame plastic surgeons who allow these ridiculous augmentations and procedures to take place. They are taking advantage of women.

  9. sometimes it makes me feel as if i have an even higher standard to "live up to". i have lots of self esteem issues-there is this ideal image-what society thinks is perfect and i dont think any woman can live up to that image in a healthy way! i really wish people could be comfortable with their shape/size/personality/choices! but i am often not happy with myself and i know others struggle too. i just wish we could all realize that there is beauty in all shapes and sizes! i dont think we are hypocrites-i just think we all can struggle with this issue :)

  10. Personally, I would never get plastic surgery unless it were for completely necessary medical reasons. While I'm not 100% confident with my body, I count myself lucky that I'm comfortable enough with it to know that I would never even consider plastic surgery. But I don't have a problem with other people having it done if they want. Sure, I might see someone and think they've completely overdone it but I keep that to myself. It's their body and if plastic surgery is what it takes for some people to feel comfortable with themselves then go for it, it's not my place to judge! As long as people make sure to watch out for their health, I don't see how anyone else can have an objection to it.

    Taken at face value, sure, plastic surgery is fake but if it gives someone the ability to be themselves more than they would otherwise, what's so fake about that?

  11. I completely agree with you, although I don't go through with the mindset as often as I should. However, that point about gender reassignment surgery really hit me. Nothing is unnatural, really. And if you think it is, so what? Comments about a person shouldn't really affect them if it's what they believe in or feel comfortable about doing, so what's the point in attacking them? They're not going to change for another person, they are going to change for themselves. If a women likes how she looks with plastic surgery, then it's her decision.

    Thanks for the post!

  12. I also agree, especially about feeling comfortable with yourself. But at the same time I feel it's also important not to limit yourself too much. Everyone has body issues & insecurities, and while it's a good thing to do whatever you want to make you feel better about them, acceptance is what I can really admire in other people. For example, Apricot tea shaving off her hair saying: 'I realized that my hair had been a heavy burden. It held me back from freely enjoying the simple pleasures in life (swimming, dancing in the rain, shower sex, etc.)' here: is a great example of how her insecurities held her back and limited her. Another is Corpulent, thinking curvier girls couldn't pull off bodycon dresses, is rocking hers here:
    I myself am too conscious of my belly & butt to wear a bodycon dress & I realize I'm limiting myself and hate myself for it. Why should anyone have to walk into a store and immediately dismiss about half the clothing because it won't enhance your best features only? The world would be a better place if people didn't feel the need to make themselves look as good & slim as they can. I also remember The Clothes Horse posting about this here:
    Though accepting you're not that perfect & don't have to look your best all the time is really small limitations are unavoidable I think. I don't think I would ever have surgery to look better though, people tend to forget that surgery does have its risks. So it should really be thought through!
    On a last note, I wish some of these operations would became less dangerous and more practical, I have a friend who had surgery on her face, it was quite complicated but the end result was her face having an entirely different shape, which she felt suited her far better. The downside? Metal plating in her cheeks, she used to scream whenever someone was about to touch her cheeks, or pinch them, whatever. I honestly can't imagine living with such a burden!
    Sorry for the long comment!

  13. Murphy: good point! a lot of it IS psychological, and we need not fall into the trap that surgery automatically makes it better! i think surgeons should do a better job of the psychological evaluation before performing surgeries!

    Brittany: i'm right there with ya girl! good luck!

    Rebecca: i think that is the PERFECT response! kudos for you!

    itsblitzlove: while i understand what you mean, it's also important to note that not everyone who undergoes plastic surgery ends up looking like a "porn star"... in many cases, you can't even tell anything is artificial. i'm not a fan of rock-hard, super round basketball boobs, but if a girl got a very modest implant that fit her body, i think that would be a completely different situation.

    Mim Smith Faro: this is a really good point too! there is definitely a drastic difference in the steps that you can take. you can do something subtle and you can do something incredibly exaggerated. i absolutely agree. but with things like makeup and eyebrows or nails, i feel like they are areas of constant experiment. next week i might try really really thin eyebrows or acrylic nails... it's not permanent so it allows more room for evolution. (lets admit it, we weren't all blessed with awesome style and makeup-skills of the gods! we have to try and FAIL miserably in some cases, to learn what works and what doesnt) :)

    cherry red studio: i totally agree! it's safe to say that probably won't ever happen, but one person at a time can make a big difference!

    katie: kudos to you! :)

    kyra: i completely agree! that's why i can stand here confident in who i am and what i do and say that the people who do not value me for my integrity or personality bear no affect on me.

    meep: your comment was so incredibly spot on! you hit things that i didn't even think of mentioning! it must be hard to see a friend go through something like that so she can value herself as a woman. the whole thing about not limiting yourself was so fantastic! so this troll thinks my thighs are too big to wear jeggings... so what! i'm tired of limiting myself to just flowly dresses all the time! i'm going to wear those jeggings and i'm going to rock them out. confidence goes so far! bravo for the brilliant post (and links!)

  14. meep: one more thing! that corpulent link you posted! i am in LOVE with her! her attitude is SO spot on! thanks so much for sharing that!

  15. Fake: (n) anything made to appear otherwise than it actually is.

    Just sayin'.

    There is a happy medium for everything. Personally I think that when someone gets colored contacts, extensions, plastic surgery, etc. they are losing their natural identity. Coloring one's hair or wearing make-up is very different.

    To compare that to gender reassignment is kind of wrong. Just because someone changes from male to female or vice versa doesn't mean they don't retain some of their natural appearance. Often times it is not about vanity, but ACTUAL identity.

  16. Non: while I can appreciate and understand your comment, I don't agree that extensions or coloring hair, etc is solely about vanity. That was the entire point of this post. To point out that some things don't have to be as drastic as surgery (augmentation or gender reassignment alike) to be considered identity. Feeling comfortable with the way you present yourself isn't just vanity... And for you to assume that it's as dimple as wanting to look pretty is foolish (in my opinion). UPI can't know what is going on in that person's mind. That's just my opinion though. We obviously have two different outlooks on it and that's okay :)

  17. I completely agree with everything you just said, I dye my hair fire red because it makes me feel pretty and I think that if someone feels more comfortable with larger breasts, more power to em!!


  18. I agree with you, the important thing is to feel good with yourself. The problem is that because of media sometimes we end up having a distortionated image of ourselves and that's when excess appear, like those who have one plastic surgery after another and are never pleased with the results 'cause there's always something else that could be "a little better". They are never satisfied and their image does't reflect who they really are. Of course this is an extreme case, I'm not against plastic surgery and just agaist the addiction it seems to produce lately. It's like the XXI century addiction-
    We have to learn to love ourselves. Maybe with a smaller nose, bigger boobs, brighter hair. Find our essence but without getting lost in a sea of collagen, silicon and botox.

  19. I think the whole fake discussion is very interesting. I myself am a big proponent of natural beauty, but I understand that is a preference. In my opinion it is misleading to pile on make-up, use colored contact lenses or wear undergarments that change the shape of your body so much it is not an accurate representation of your size. You do not appear as you truly are, and therefore as previously stated, become the textbook definition of fake.

    But at the same time, I also feel if that's what makes the person comfortable, then they should certainly be permitted to do it without having any animosity thrown their way.

    Telling people things like, "You would be so much prettier if _____" is a waste of time. None of it is relevant and all of it is merely opinion. Strong individuals will do what they please, regardless of what anyone tells them. And those are the type of people I admire, whether they be on my side of natural or rock whatever "fakeness" they've chosen. As long as they're happy with themselves, I can dig it.

  20. someone may have already said this, admittedly i didn't read all of the comments first, but...
    i personally feel that just because what you do to your physical appearance may be "fake" doesn't make you fake. i have no "enhancements" other than my tattoos, but even if i did i would not consider my person to be fake. i am real just like anyone else. we put way too much into what we see in the mirror (i literally just posted on this about an hour ago!) and make that out to be a true reflection of ourselves...but this body is not me. we didn't get to choose our bodies, and that being said we must work with what we have been given...let our spirits shine through to who we really are. i know people who have undergone breast augmentation and plastic surgeries of various kinds for all the wrong reasons...that is, for everyone else to see them differently...but i think we forget that people will always judge us...boobs big or small, shapes curvy or thin, hair blonde or whats right by you! make you feel good. love you first. because i also know people who have undergone elective surgeries to make themselves feel better...and you have no idea the difference feeling comfortable in your own body can make until you've lived it. we are all different, not one of us made the same...i think we need to get back to basics...remember that how we look is not who we are...judge not. love one another. love yourselves.

  21. I think everyone should just do what makes them happy in regard to their appearance. Some people like no makeup, some like lots of it....etc etc. Same goes for plastic surgery and hair color. It's fine to give an opinion on someone's appearance if they ask you for it, but ultimately it's up to them how they present themselves!

  22. Cherry Red Studio made a point I really agree with. It changes the "standards" of beauty. I am 24 and I'm getting wrinkles and you know, I have NO IDEA how much wrinkles are natural at my age. Because you never know whose face is "real" and whose isn't. I mean, I've considered botox for God's sake and that's sort of ridiculous at 24. But if I don't get it, and everyone else does, then I'll look older than everyone just because I haven't altered my face. It's not a big deal now of course but when I'm 50, if I don't get botox and face lifts and whatever the hell else people do, I'm going to look completely different from my peers. Sure, it's a choice for everyone to make for themselves, but it's sort of unfair if you have to choose between getting my face hacked up and looking like the "new normal."

    Even totally different procedures, like nose jobs or boob jobs or whatever, can have the same effect. I mean, if you're unhappy with your crooked nose, it's a lot harder to "learn to love it" when everyone who looked similar to you got surgery to change it. If you are unhappy with a part of you and you don't see too many people around you who have that same body part (because they all got their boobs blown up or their noses hacked down or whatever), I imagine it's increasingly harder to learn to love that part of you. I know that "slippery slope" arguments are generally poor arguments, but seriously: if plastic surgery keeps growing as fast as it has been, soon nose jobs and boob jobs and tummy tucks will be just as common as going to the salon to get a manicure. And it seems awfully brutal to feel like to have to succumb to what is essentially mutilation just to fit in with "the norm."

    But I guess the same argument could be said for makeup and hair dye, both of which I use regularly. And am I going to stop doing that? hell no. And do I think plastic surgery should be illegal or something? definitely not! I recognize that it can do wonders for self esteem, etc. and I also recognize that most people don't go too far with it at all. I can't say "plastic surgery is terrible" but I can't say it's totally awesome, either.

  23. Kelly, that is SUCH a good point. So many people have left so many valid points in this post, I'm honestly blown away by my readers' intelligence. I loved reading everyone's responses

  24. I don't think using extentions or dye. If I did, then I got into the wrong business. Some people just like to have fun with their looks, some people are self-concious of their gray or don't like their squirrel fur hair. Some people don't want to wait for their hair to grow 10 inches. It's all about perception. People will have a differnt reason than someone else for doing something.


HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB