According to this news story in The Telegraph, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, and Rachel Weisz are three actresses who have publicly promised that they will never get cosmetic surgery. The story is sparse, but one quotation from Kate Winslet caught my eye:
"It goes against my morals, the way that my parents brought me up and what I consider to be natural beauty. I will never give in."
Saying that cosmetic surgery goes against one's morals is pretty bold -- not bad or stupid or anything, but certainly bold. It would be easier to say something like, "It's something I would never do personally, but it's a choice everyone gets to make for him or herself." And yeah, that's a little wishy-washy, but it's a comfortable stance to take.
As for me, I've wondered a time or two if I feel the same way that Kate Winslet purports to feel on this topic: does cosmetic surgery go against my morals?
Gut response: no, it doesn't. Though every situation is different, I think a lot of cosmetic surgery is frivolous, vain, wasteful, and possibly indicative of some inner emotional struggles, but those things aren't immoral in and of themselves. (... or are they? You could certainly make the case that in the world's current condition, wastefulness is immoral. Vanity too, maybe.)
Is the idea supposed to be that cosmetic surgery is immoral because it's superficial? If so, seems like makeup, curling irons, hairspray, padded bras, high-heeled shoes, and jewelry would have to be labeled as "immoral" as well, and I certainly don't feel that way. Though I'm 99% sure that I won't ever get serious surgery for cosmetic reasons, I use makeup frequently, and while it's a superficial ritual of mine, I can't say I feel I've abandoned my moral code by "improving" my appearance within reason.
Also, I have to say that these three women -- whom I admire as actresses and as people -- are all quite lucky in terms of genes and financial situations. While our society's obsession with youth is no joke and not doing these women any favors (Winslet is 35, Weisz is 41, and Thompson is 52), they do have the automatic genetic fortune of looking the way our society likes women to look (fair-skinned, relatively thin, proportional and "womanly") and the worldly means to capitalize on what their mamas and daddies gave them (through personal trainers, nice makeup, facials, expensive haircuts, healthy food, exercise equipment, flattering clothes, etc.). Put another way, these three are in a privileged position when it comes to looks; yay for them on the public decision not to have cosmetic surgery, sincerely, but the general preference for women who look like them does make it easier for them to make that pledge.
Related: It drives me mildly crazy when everyone falls all over themselves to applaud celebrities who refuse to have their photos retouched in magazines and such, because those celebrities are supposedly embracing "reality" and supporting a health body image. Yes, this is a move in the right direction and an admirable position to take (way to go, celebrities!), but how "realistic" is it to look at a person (typically a woman) who is wearing insanely expensive clothes, made up for hours by professional stylists, lit to perfection and photographed professionally from all her best angles? Even if the photos aren't retouched, is that reality? Especially when we're talking about actresses, musicians, and models who make their living partially from looking good and therefore have the obligation and opportunity to work out and take exceptional care of their bodies? Come on, everyone. The absence of PhotoShop doesn't make things realistic.
End rant. But anyway, for those of you reading, I wonder: does cosmetic surgery go against your morals?