Plastic surgery

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Vanessa Truelove
Ms. Marshall
English 101
18 May 2011
Why Does Perfection Even Matter?
Society’s perception of beauty is influenced by Hollywood and the celebrities it has
created. People go to great lengths such as plastic surgery to attain the beauty that is shown in
billboards, magazines, movies and other media sources. In this essay, I will be using the movie
American Beauty,directed by Sam Mendes, to explain how superficial beauty is important to
most people. I will also be using Camille Paglia’s essay, “The Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery” and
“Bodies Under Construction: Teen Cosmetic Surgery” by Liane Beam Wansbrough to explain
how plastic surgery has played a big part in today’s society and their perception of beauty. And
last but not least, I will be usingNewsweek’s article, “Heidi Montag, Version 3.0” as an example
of how the Hollywood scene has influenced others to the point where they feel it necessary to
change by using plastic surgery.
In the film, American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, the characters all have different
perceptions of beauty. In the beginning of the film, three of the characters are greatly influenced
by physical beauty.Lester, the dad, is attracted to the young blonde Barbie-like teenager named
Angela, who is only interested in her superficial beauty, popularity and sexuality. Then there’s
Jane, the daughter of Lester and friend of Angela, who at the beginning of the film is disgusted
with her appearance and is saving money for a boob job which she clearly does not need. Angela
is satisfied knowing thatother people desire her because of the way she looks. She claims that
she sleeps around with top notch photographers so that they can get her into magazines which
can potentially make her a famous model for her looks. Lester starts working out so that he can
also be desired and so that he can “look good naked”. Obviously, they both have a superficial
outlook on beauty.
The perceptionof beauty in our society has definitely been impacted by plastic surgery
and celebrities and Hollywood influence people to get it done. In Camille Paglia’s essay, “The
Pitfalls of Plastic Surgery” for Convergences, she explains how plastic surgery among people in
Hollywood seems to be getting out of hand. She mentions how in the past, Hollywood actors and
actresses used make-up to achieve acertain look for a movie role. The difference now is that
“Hollywood expects middle-aged female actors to look 20 or even 30 years younger than they
are” (607). She also says how in Europe, actors and actresses that are older are admired because
they have that look of being experienced and in the business for a long time so they are
respected. Nowadays, everyone is trying to look youngerby using all kind of plastic surgeries
done on them whether it’s lifts, liposuction, or botox to remove wrinkles. She also emphasizes
how everyone that goes through with plastic surgery is trying to achieve the same horse-like
features making some people look creepy. If everyone tries to look the same way then where will
individuality go? Plastic surgery enhances feminine features, givingyou that girly look. She
states that this is just creating an ideal look for women.
Looking young isn’t the only goal that is trying to be attained, though. As told by Liane
Beam Wansbrough in her article “Bodies Under Construction: Teen Cosmetic Surgery” for
Faze Magazine issue 13, many teenagers are now getting plastic surgery in hopes of gaining a
higher self-esteem. Teenagers feelmore pressured to look a certain way now that plastic surgery
is so popular and superficial beauty seems to be as well. Wansbrough also mentions how many
of these teens parents might also have had plastic surgery done so they are more informed about
the procedures. Breast augmentation is very popular amongst today’s youth but many doctors do
not recommend it since most of them are still...
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