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In Defence of Imperfection

February 29, 2012

When YouTube gets hold of me, and that’s fairly easily done (bleat bleat), one of the things I look at is before and after pictures of celebrity persons who have had cosmetic surgery.  Needing to keep having a job in an Apollonian-focused industry has been cited as a reason for ‘having work done’ by more than a few famous people and so noses slim down, faces get lifted and boobs inflate; everyone starts to look like Barbie.  Presumably they can afford it and good luck to them, honestly, I’m pro-choice about body modification for whatever reason.  However, I bet it hurts and I know especially the facial stuff can make people start to look a bit unreal.


My experiences with cosmetic surgery (yes, I’ve had some) have been having things removed that have grown on me and that I didn’t like being there.  I had a growth on my ring finger that I used to cover up with plasters and the NHS removed that.  A colourless mole grew, harmlessly but annoyingly, on my eyebrow and I paid a couple of hundred quid for a private doctor to scrape it off before it got to the size of the one Bill Bailey has (lovely though he is).  Most recently I had a skin tag lasered off my armpit because I kept having to navigate around it when I shaved and that annoyed me.  None of the above procedures were particularly painful and neither was the dentistry I had done as a child to remove extra teeth that would have crowded my mouth.

I could go further.  I could have stuff done to my skin so that there weren’t any blemishes or visible wrinkles (and fulfil my friend D’s prophecy that older, smoothed skin makes one look like Dale Winton).  I could have surgery to reduce the size and change the shape of my nose (thus bowing down to years of teenage bullying – it’d be like saying ‘yes, I was ugly, you were right’).  I could have one breast enhanced or one reduced so that they were exactly the same size (and thus put myself in a very small minority of people since hardly anyone is symmetrical that way).

You may be pleased to hear I’m not going to do any of the above things and intend to grow old disgracefully continuing to look however I look.  Although I don’t talk about it a lot on here (this blog being public), I am in a relationship and feel secure that the person who is my partner doesn’t wish I looked like someone else.  It’s been well over 20 years, in fact, since anyone whose opinion I gave a monkey chuff about expressed that they’d like me to look any differently to the way I do.  At this point, some of you are thinking ‘it’s YOU that needs to be happy with your appearance’ but I often find we are our own harshest critics and that other (adult, non-wanker) people see our plus points and don’t home in on what we may see ourselves as minor imperfections.

The word ‘imperfection’ is something I have a problem with in itself.  I nearly entitled this post ‘Keeping it Real’ but preferred not to out of recognition that many people do want to make changes to their appearance, dye their hair, get tattooed, get their teeth fixed or have more extreme body modifications and in support of their absolute right to do so.  Still, saying one has ‘imperfections’ implies agreeing with a concept of perfection (possibly Barbie, although her arms and legs don’t bend and her head is removeable so it could get tricky being exactly like her).

What’s closer to reality is that people tend to have ways they prefer to look.  There isn’t one goal ‘look’ or standard of beauty that we all actually want to achieve or that is found universally desirable or attractive to others.  This varies across and among groups of persons both according to and regardless of geography and culture.  All sorts of people look stylish, look scruffy, look whatever and have learned to be comfortable with their appearance and are attractive to others.  Add to this that a whole load of people aren’t as shallow as I am and a whole load more aren’t shallow full stop.

A slight puffiness of the eye or a dark circle beneath it?  Whaaatever, beauty industry, what I look like is what I look like.  I intend (and fully recommend to any else who’d like to join me) to just rock being ME!  I wholeheartedly recommend vanity so long as it’s fun.  I also recommend going out with no make up on and in scruffy clothes because Gok Wan, Trinny and Susannah and the like do not have secret police hiding in wait for you – nothing bad will happen.  Look how YOU want to look and dress how YOU want to dress; with confidence in yourself other people will see your happy shine through.

Just to add on the end of this…
When I went to get my skin-tag lasered, the person doing it said we needed to discuss my face and the damage I was doing to it by using over-the-counter skin products rather than the stuff she was trying to sell me.  She also wanted to laser off the strawberry birthmarks that my body is scattered with and it took several times of me saying no quite adamantly before she got the message (she also reckoned I’d got them through drinking alcohol – umm, no, they’re birthmarks).  An industry that profits from people’s insecurity is a godawful pain in the butt, innit.

If you’re reading this and at all concerned that you may have imperfections, please let me know and I promise to give you reasons why you’re gorgeous.


From → Body Image

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