Monday, October 20, 2008
I read an item in the paper today that almost took my breath away. It was about women having plastic surgery on their feet and ankles. We're not just talking botox or liposuction either, but having toes broken, shortened etc. I felt quite sick reading it. I felt ashamed to be a woman.
And the reason? So these women can wear pretty shoes without feeling embarrassed about their "ugly" feet.
The article also talked to women who had foot, knee and back problems from years of wearing high heels all day, every day. Women who had serious health problems but could not/would not stop wearing these shoes because they are "addicted" to them or can't stand how they look in more practical shoes.
I was reminded of an article I'd read some months ago about a beautiful young black woman, who was undergoing plastic surgery to give her a large bottom. She was slender and gorgeous but claimed her life was ruined and she was incapable of happiness because she did not have the curvaceous rear that black women are supposed to have. The interview was full of her descriptions of how she could barely leave the house because of her embarrasment over her small buttocks, how she cried herself to sleep every night...I did wonder how she might cope if she discovered she had cancer, or suffered a bereavement or something similar, if being cursed with a small bottom made her feel such despair.
I'm not denying these women have serious problems but the problems are in their heads and not their physiques. It is hard for me to understand anyone undergoing surgery to fix defects that aren't even defects at all. And believe me, I don't like the way I look so I sympathise with people who have hang-ups over their appearance! I've even cried over it at times. I don't have my photo taken or look in mirrors if I can help it. The difference is that I know these feelings are trivial even if they are genuine! That in the great scheme of things it doesn't matter if I have pretty feet or a sexy bottom or a perky set of boobs. That what matters is I look after my health and try to be a good person.
I also read an article about women with breast cancer. Many are now terminal. All talked about living each day as it came and appreciating the important things in life. I doubt any waste much time fretting that their toes aren't perfectly symmetrical.
Since I hurt my ankle, I've come to really appreciate the sheer joy of being able to walk, run, dance - because I can't do it for the moment. I simply cannot imagine why a 23 year old woman would contemplate spending £2700 on an operation to pretty up her feet, when she knows it will mean she can't walk properly for about six months. Six days have almost driven me insane!
I know there is a condition called body dysmorphia and maybe these women have it, in which case the answer is treating the condition and not undergoing surgery!
If I could, I'd prescribe these self-obsessed women a course of counselling plus a massive dose of reality. And tell them that no-one cares about their feet or their backsides except them!