How Plastic Surgery Can Empower Body Positivity

Woman respecting herself

One of the biggest assumptions most often made about plastic surgery is that it’s in conflict with the body positivity movement. Since the early 2000s, many women have been pushing back against standards in beauty, often depicted in movies, advertisements, and even children’s toys. With the focus of the body positivity movement being that all bodies are beautiful, many people often believe that plastic surgery counters these goals and reinforces unhealthy beauty standards. Body positivity is an incredibly powerful message, so much so that plastic surgery can work side by side with this movement to create positive change in beauty standards.

The Psychology Behind Body Positivity

The body positivity movement attempts to look at unrealistic beauty standards and remove them, establishing ideas such as positive self-talk and a heightened sense of self-esteem. Body image is all about how you feel and think about your body, and this movement can help reduce the likelihood of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. However, more often than not, women have negative body images, which increases the risk of mental health problems. In these cases, body image isn’t about weight or size but rather how the mind sees their bodies in comparison to their reality.

Because of the prevalence of negative body image, combating these issues means working with physicians, mental health professionals, and surgeons about your options to improve body positivity. However, cosmetic surgery often comes with biases and assumptions, often implying that cosmetic surgery negatively impacts women’s self-image and ruins the body positivity movement. However, that isn’t necessarily the case – some studies have looked into how women perceive themselves before and after plastic surgery and found that overall, cosmetic patients often experience an improvement in their own appearance after receiving cosmetic surgery.

How Plastic Surgery Can Help Body Image

Plastic surgery isn’t for everyone, but it’s important to know that plastic surgery isn’t about making everyone look the same. Rather, it’s about embracing what makes you unique and beautiful, and many cosmetic procedures don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. As physicians, we’re here for patients to help improve their body image, their mental health, and ultimately their physical health as well.

Some ways to determine if plastic surgery is right for you is to look at how you perceive your body image and ask yourself questions, such as:

  • What are you hoping to gain from your surgery?
  • What results are you expecting?
  • Are there alternatives to plastic surgery you can do?
  • Do you understand the risks and complications of your surgery?
  • What are the potential costs associated with your surgery?

Overall, looking at the benefits and risks of your surgery, where your mental health is currently, and other factors related to your body image can help you determine if plastic surgery is right for you. For many people, plastic surgery works to emphasize the best parts of themselves and can greatly benefit one’s body image simply by choosing to love the body they have. 

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Paula Moynahan, MD

Dr. Paula Moynahan, MD is a Cosmetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Specialist in Middlebury, CT and NYC and has over 53 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from Medical College Of Pennsylvania medical school in 1968. To optimize her patients’ results, Dr. Moynahan developed a unique proprietary skin treatment line in 1984, updated continuously with every scientific advancement in skincare. Be sure to call ahead with Dr. Moynahan to book an appointment.

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