Subscribe to our newsletter

Perceived Beauty and Self-Harm Comes in Many (De)Forms


Beauty is ‘in the eye of the beholder’ and what is ugly to some represents alluring beauty to others. It does seem though that, what the eye sees is not necessarily what registers in the brain. We know that the suffering anorexic sees only a ‘fat person image’ confronting them but what of the seemingly normal, healthy person who is driven to extremes of self-image enhancement.

So many female and increasingly male members of our so-called civilization seem intent on a search for an externally decorated alter-ego, often by surgical change. There is worrying justification often quoted regarding cosmetic surgery “because I can afford it” as if having the money to pay is good enough reason for bodily abuse. Other instances can take the form of metallic or plastic rings, pins, wobbly balls and other weird objects being inserted into even the most private and sensitive areas of the body. This form of self-centered narcissism is a worrying trend amongst our young, as is to a lesser extent, the tattoo craze that again if taken to excess might be another form of self-esteem malfunction. We are not talking Mahican haircuts here that will grow out in time!

OK, maybe such extremes will give temporary respite from a frantic motivating inner force but surely it goes against everything that is normal ‘healthy’ thinking. This article in no way denigrates the learning, research and undoubtedly admirable surgical skills involved in medical science. However, the potential for profit above ethics must be a seductive factor in today’s high street cosmetic surgery and if that’s not frightening, what is? The Doctors life-saving and life-enhancing Hippocratic Oath is an honourable ethic above all others but some practitioners seem a little confused by their role in today’s society. There are long waiting lists for medically advised operations, often critical, yet minor cosmetic surgery is now a lunchtime availability. Something is surely wrong here and maybe there is a need to consider where this road is leading to. It has gone beyond the acceptable multicoloured sticky-up hair and diversely strange garb enjoyed and nurtured by succeeding generations. Is it all just simple pleasure of the affluent or are we observing a mass descent into serious reality issues depression.