Opinion: Feminism + Cosmetic Surgery

I consider myself a proud Feminist. I also want cosmetic surgery. Does wanting to keep up with beauty norms and standards make me less of a feminist or more complicit to the patriarchy? Does wanting to look young forever or want bigger lips make me less of a feminist? Does it mean I don’t have enough self-love? Does it mean I think ageing isn’t beautiful or normal? Why are Botox or other fillers or cosmetic procedures such a sin?

I’m focusing on Botox and other fillers for this piece, because that’s what I plan to get in the near future. I feel like it will fix every single one of my personal problems.  Every single one. (Just Kidding). I worry people will tell me I am setting a bad example for my children, that I don’t think I’m good enough as is, that I don’t love myself enough, or that I am conforming too much to beauty norms. I worry about everything, so of course I worry about this. I worry about contradiction.

One one hand, I am told by popular culture that looks matter: to look younger, have longer hair, be tanner, always wear makeup. Culture tells us to do all of this, and to do it effortlessly. For women, appearance is the first thing, and sometimes the only thing. On the other hand, we are told it’s what inside that counts, looks don’t matter, “Don’t be superficial.”

We are taught to age gracefully, but made to feel bad when we talk about the methods in which we get to that point. We all make negotiations with the oppressive beauty industry. Whether it’s wearing makeup, or using face creams, or picking out clothes each day, we all know the beauty and fashion industries oppress women, yet we all participate, some to more extents than others.

At the end of the day, I do love myself. I think I am beautiful, and I like how I look mostly, but I still have insecurities. Technology and science have met in the middle and created products that will help my insecurities and give me one less thing to worry about. I think feminism means being able to do whatever I want to do. Feminism empowers me to have personal choice and agency, which means if I want cosmetic surgery, I can get it, and not feel guilt or remorse, or even feel the need to hide it. It’s also supporting women and their own choices in the matter, be it pro or against; it’s the freedom of choice. Choosing to do what I want is a continuation of what feminism means to me.