The Editors Debate: Is Plastic Surgery ‘Immoral’?

On Monday, we asked some ladies what kind of plastic surgery they’d get. Responses varied, but a few expressed extreme disdain for the practice, even the word “immoral” was thrown around. Plenty of commenters cried foul but more than a few agreed that it was, indeed, immoral. Now Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Wright and Deputy Editor Ashley Cardiff must debate to the death. Loser has turkey neck forever.

(Main image of Crystal Renn from French Vogue)

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    • Eileen

      I don’t think it’s immoral, but I do sometimes think less of women who get it for purely cosmetic reasons (I mentioned this in the earlier comments, but for the record I have been to a plastic surgeon for skin grafts. And yeah, that does sometimes make me feel like a hypocrite), the same as I sometimes think less of women who refuse to leave the house without makeup. (Seriously, we’re just going to the video store at ten o’clock to rent a DVD. You don’t need eyeliner). But at least makeup washes off and doesn’t involve potentially life-threatening surgery (people have died from liposuction).

      I also think that one of the problems that people, or at least I have with plastic surgery is that heart-wrenching beauty is striking, pleasing, and rare enough to be special. I like that truly gorgeous people are unusual enough that I stop to appreciate how gorgeous they are. Maybe this makes me a bitch. (“If everyone is super, then no one is,” right? Should I want no one to be beautiful so that no one is left out? Possibly.

    • Abigail

      Why, as a “gallery of plastic surgery” are only hideous, disfigured looking, over-the-top photos being used? There are thousands of women and men who have gotten a normal, sane amount of plastic surgery and look beautiful or distinguished, but in all of the stories you’ve done about plastic surgery, you use only hideous photos. You’re clearly showing your bias, regardless of what you say about the topic.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Please find 10 photos of instantly recognizable but not hideous plastic surgery. Let me know when you’re done. Thanks!

      • Jamie Peck

        If plastic surgery is not hideous, it’s not going to be instantly recognizable. I know a few people with nose jobs that I never would’ve noticed if they didn’t tell me, and ditto with boob jobs.

      • Lisa

        It’s easy enough to find, just Google “good plastic surgery”! Both sides of the story aren’t that far away.

      • Eileen

        Maybe Jennifer Grey’s nose job? It’s famous but not ugly.

    • Cassie

      I think the difference between wearing makeup and plastic surgery is that makeup is designed to emphasize the good features you already have. Plastic surgery gives you features you were never MEANT to have.

    • Melaninka

      Oh, people, please..I definitely agree Jamie P. You guys wouldn’t even notice if you wouldn’t know…There are so many people you think they are natural but they are not…I have had breast surgery and the guy thought they are all natural..hahaha, well, it didn’t happen once but yes..face modification could be weird if it changes your expression and the way people really know you for many years, but the body? Why even someone cares about crap like that…watch your own life, your own face and you wouldn’t be bothered by other people decisions! Its not your life after all!!

    • k

      I would never use the word ‘immoral’ to describe people who have had (or are considering) plastic surgery. It seems like a harsh umbrella term for something that is really case specific.

      Morals, in MY opinion, come from our individual beliefs about what’s good and bad and what makes for a good/happy life. Obviously it gets more complicated than that but, in essence, there it is.

      I hate peanuts. I think they are gawd-awful and they smell. Are peanut-eaters immoral to me? Uhm, no. Obviously.

      I use the peanut example because I hate them so much that I will literally avoid people from whom I can smell it. Because it bothers the shit out of me. And you know what? The peanut-eaters don’t even notice I do that because I’m not in their face about it calling them names. I don’t need to be. Hey, that might not be the best example but hopefully someone will get it.

      Plastic surgery doesn’t smell (hopefully) and it’s easily avoidable. It’s a choice. As long as the patient is of age and is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy and has a qualified surgeon. (bad grammar just now, I know!)

      I’ve never had plastic surgery and I’m not considering it at this point. But I do think it’s funny when people say things like “you’re conforming to society’s beauty standards by getting plastic surgery and it’s weak/stupid/immoral” (or something like that). Again, in MY opinion, I think it’s pretty weak to think your individual morals would apply to anyone else. I’m saying this because I got called out for doing this and I didn’t even realize it until someone (rightfully) called my ass out.

      I’m also not trying to make anyone who is against seem like a bad person but I think they maybe should try and examine where these negative feelings really come from and not use words like ‘weak’, ‘immoral’ or ‘stupid’. A lot of that was in the comments of the other post.

    • Lois W. Stern

      Vanity and beauty are so often spoken all in one breath, waxing poetic about inner beauty being all that counts in this life. But I ask you, is there a law against having both? I happen to think that a well-adjusted woman who strikes a balance between the two can definitely be happier and feel more fulfilled. Read more of my thoughts at:

    • Jamie Peck

      Also, as someone with tattoos, I’d feel like a huge hypocrite judging someone for getting a boob job or whatever. I believe our bodies are ours to decorate or modify as we see fit. That doesn’t mean we can’t still examine the various factors that go into these decisions. My tattoos may be influenced by my subcultural affiliations, while a boob job may be influenced by mainstream culture. That doesn’t mean that either of us is stupid.

      • Abigail

        Jamie, I love that you said that. As someone else who has tattoos, I totally agree. I would never judge someone who wanted to get plastic surgery if that’s what they liked, the same as I would never judge someone who wanted to get tattoos, piercings, or anything else. Great point!

    • MR

      I like k’s response. So balanced.
      Yeah, I weighed in on your first plastic surgery posting a couple of days ago. Sorry for skipping the boob job one, but it was too much for me. Trust me a man wants a relationship with a woman not just her boobs, whatever what size they are. And for the record women are free to do whatever they want. I was just trying to say: don’t do it for a guy who values you only for your cosmetic appearance. Make sure he loves the you that’s you, first.

    • DrD

      As a plastic surgeon who performs medically-necessary as well as cosmetic plastic surgery, I can see why people fret with this question. If it were not for the revenue from the cosmetic work, however, I would not be in business and would be unavailable for the needed but often entirely unprofitable plastic surgery I perform….wounds, trauma, and cancer mostly. Some of the “Over the top” plastic surgery celeb stuff also provides material for my blog.

    • Dawn

      The photos are biased. What about photos of Winona Ryder pre- and post- nose job? Perhaps show the gorgeous Mary-Louise Parker and talk about her use of laser treatments and subtle dermal fillers? Not all plastic surgery is huge fake boobs or attempts by women and men in their 40s and above to look “younger.” Get over the need to judge other people…it’s far more pathetic than their attempts to look or feel better about themselves.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Is calling strangers pathetic judgmental or not? Maybe make a chart of what kinds of judgments are okay?

    • surgery

      Find information about Cosmetic and including techniques intended for the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it. For more information please visit: Plastic Surgery