Many of us have issues with our bodies.
Whether we think our tummies are too big or our breasts are too small and we could do with a little work, there’s few of us who can say we’re entirely happy with how we look.
Luckily most of us have someone we can go to for reassurance. A parent or partner who’ll tell us not to worry as we’re fine just the way we are.
But imagine if it was these very individuals who were triggering our insecurities. Or, even worse, pushing us to get plastic surgery. Imagine if you were only young and it was your mum encouraging you to go under the knife.
Dr Jenna Alice Burton says it happens quite a lot.
She explains: “Coercion comes in many forms and from many different people. Parents, especially mothers, are equally as likely to encourage their daughters to opt for surgery or cosmetic treatments as husbands are to their wives. In fact the most direct form of coercion I see is from mothers to their daughters.”
Dr Burton is the Health and Wellness Manager at Anglo Arabian Healthcare. In her last role she worked in a plastic surgery hospital which offered a variety of treatments including mesotherapy and fillers. She says that often it was mothers putting their own insecurities onto their offspring.
She adds: “On one occasion, a mother brought her normal weight daughter in for weight loss surgery. She was telling the 16-year-old she was fat and attempting to make me laugh at her. It is unusual that I lose my cool in the clinical room but I was incredibly upset. I informed the mother that this was an issue she had with herself and not with her daughter. This is also true for mothers who bring their 20-year-olds in complaining that they have wrinkles and wanting them to have Botox.”
From verbal pressure to offering to pay for surgery for somebody else, Doctor Burton says there are a number of ways people can influence others into going under the knife. She would always pay attention to a patient’s reasons reminding them to do some research into the treatment they wanted and urge them to make sure it was 100 percent their own decision.
And if it’s not mothers, it’s husbands doing the pushing… A survey carried out a few years ago in the UK revealed that a quarter of men would like their partners to have cosmetic surgery to improve their looks.
The study of 1,248 British men found that 57 per cent of those who wanted their partners to go for surgery wanted them to have Liposuction with 49 per cent wanting their other halves to have a breast enlargement.
It’s something Dubai’s Private Clinic are aware of. They recently warned those considering going under the knife to make sure they were doing it because they wanted to.
Dr Ricardo Ferla is a Plastic Surgeon at the clinic and says he always urges clients to remember it’s their decision.
He explains: “It is their body that is going to be changed by this procedure, so we say make sure you’re going through with it because you want to — not because of peer pressure, family comments, or any external reason. If they do have concerns in this area it is a good idea for them to speak with a trusted friend or counsellor first.”
At the end of the day, surgery is serious business and if you’re planning on going under the knife, be sure you’re doing it for the right reason.
Dr Burton adds: “Surgery, no matter how safe, no matter what the statistics, still holds risks. It is still a general anaesthetic with a very genuine recovery time. I have had cosmetic surgery myself and I can tell you how terrible you can feel afterwards. Your life is on hold for a period of time whilst you recover. Therefore it has to be something you want to do. Do your homework and take time to make a decision. If something was to go wrong, you don’t want to be in a situation of growing to resent someone you love.”
Don’t pander to a short-lived trend
Our celebrity-obsessed culture can also influence people’s decisions to have surgery. Whether it’s Kim Kardashian’s bottom or cheekbones like Angelina Jolie, Dr Ricardo Ferla says people coming in with a simple desire to look like their favourite famous person will be turned away.
He adds: “Celebrity culture, exaggerated now by Instagram and so on, has meant that the whole field of plastic surgery has seen some people have unrealistic expectations. We do surgeries because people are unhappy with their body shape. If someone comes to us because they want to look like a certain celebrity, we would most likely politely decline our services. Our goal is to help the client make changes in a positive way, not to pander to short lived trends. Media obviously has a strong hand in what people find attractive – but we try to help people find a surgery that will make them most happy and comfortable as an individual. As I have said before, if you come to us wanting to look exactly like Kim Kardashian – time to rethink the whole idea!”