Here’s something that might surprise you. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2009, 2 percent of the American population that got plastic surgery was individuals between the ages of 13-19. Two percent may not seem like a lot initially, but that comes out to be about 284,405 people and the numbers are steadily on the rise.
Although there are various reasons why including the corrections of birth deformities and reconstructive work due to accidents, burns, etc., what is causing a lot of people to focus more on this issue is because there are many teenagers who are having cosmetic procedures done (such as rhinoplasties and breast augmentations) simply because they are not pleased with the way that they look. When parents allow their children to undergo such drastic measures for this reason alone that can send a bit of a contradictory message: “You are beautiful to me, but I will support you permanently altering yourself because you don’t agree.”
That’s a big part of the reason why it’s interesting that a city in China would be taking such a strong stand against plastic surgery for minors by actually making plans to put a ban on it. That’s right. The city of Guangzhou, a place that has roughly three million plastic surgery procedures on an annual basis, wants to prevent children and teenagers from “going under the knife” (or laser). If the law passes, it would mean that minors would not be able to schedule something such as a nose surgery without getting their one of their parent’s consent.
One of the main reasons why many city officials believe that this is necessary is due to the fact that they feel many of their youth have become obsessed with fashion and beauty. Yang Jianguang, a law professor at a local university there, said that another reason is that the patients are becoming younger and younger.
Youth are young. Their minds are still developing and even their brains are still literally growing, so while they may think that changing how they look is as simple as looking at a magazine, picking out a celebrity’s body part and going into a medical office to “get one just like it”, those within the medical industry (and many of us) know that it’s not that simple. Plastic surgery is a major medical procedure that costs a lot of money and requires quite a bit of recovery time—things that are far too serious for a teenager to be concerned with or consumed by. Plus, the death of Wang Bei, a Chinese pop singer who died in 2010 following a plastic surgery procedure, has only heightened the need for concern in China.
As it relates to China, there is one more thing that has caused them to be a bit more aggressive about a ban. According to reports, many of the youth that come in for surgery ask for their noses and eyes to be enlarged so that they can look more westernized (yes, like Americans). In some ways, that might be one of the saddest reasons of all. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and cultures. It’s the uniqueness that makes us all so special. It should not be “carved away”, especially by someone who is too young to fully appreciate it (yet).