Just Perfect: People Glamorizes Plastic Surgery Addiction


Heidi Montag is “Addicted To Plastic Surgery,” but so what? Getting 10 cosmetic procedures in one day is a great way to validate your distorted body image and bump the President of the United States off the cover of People.

On November 20, 2009 Heidi Montag spent 10 hours getting a series of cosmetic surgery procedures, including increasing her breast implants to a DDD, getting “sexy ears”, and arching her brow, which Dr. Frank Ryan, her plastic surgeon, admits “isn’t commonly done” to 23-year-olds. In the accompanying 7-page interview, Heidi explains that she wanted to get the operations because her dream is to become a pop star and “it’s a superficial industry.” She adds,

I would say the biggest reason is to feel better, to feel perfect. I was made fun of when I was younger, and so I had insecurities, especially after I moved to L.A. People said I had a “Jay Leno chin”; they’d circle it on blogs and say nasty things. It bothered me. And when I watched myself on The Hills, my ears would be sticking out likle Dumbo! I just wanted to feel more confident and look in the mirror and be like, “Whoa! That’s me!” I was an ugly duckling before.

Though People asking, “has she gone too far?” on the cover, suggests that there’s some kind of discussion about the dangers of plastic surgery in the magazine, Heidi is basically allowed to spew comments about how surgery was the answer to all of her body image issues. Even magazines like In Touch and Life & Style will usually consult with a “doctor who doesn’t treat the star” and tack on several paragraphs cautioning against becoming addicted to altering your appearance.

People only cites two doctors in its piece. Dr. Ryan justifies operating on Heidi, saying, “She’s doing what every other celebrity does… They just don’t talk about it.” The second doctor gets in six words in a sidebar on the last page. In the only challenge to Heidi advocating going under the knife, the magazine points out that about 5 to 10 percent of people who get cosmetic surgery have body dysmorphic disorder, a condition in which people look normal, “‘but they see a distorted image,’ says Jamie Feusner M.D., a psychiatrist who heads UCLA’s BDD Research Program.”

Heidi is allowed to do whatever she wants to her body, but her comments about the way she saw herself “before” are still extremely sad. Even if you hate Speidi and their media-whoring, it’s hard not to feel bad for a young woman who, when asked about “changing what God gave her” says she knows, “It’s what’s inside that God cares about,” then goes on to publicly disparage her natural body saying, “I honestly was never the prettiest girl. I was more like the frumpy sidekick to Lauren [Conrad].”

Yesterday Emmy Rossum Tweeted about Heidi’s cover,

It upsets me to see young women in the spotlight advocating plastic surgery. ANY surgery is extremely dangerous&should not be taken lightly, ..much less, used as a tool to increase notoriety or popularity… By putting this on magazine covers, we are somehow legitimizing the dangerous lengths to which some will go for fame and “beauty”

Judging from the public reaction to the songs Heidi has already released, it seems unlikely that her new appearance will catapult her to pop music stardom. However as Rossum points out, the surgery has already allowed her to increase her notoriety by appearing on the cover of People, while just recently she had a hard time getting on the cover of one of the far less legitimate celebrity weeklies.

Heidi already wants another procedure to make her breasts even bigger because when she posed for Playboy, “I didn’t fill out one of the bras and they had to Photoshop my boobs bigger and it was disheartening.” She says this is just the beginning of what she wants to have done and, “I plan to keep using surgery to make me as perfect as I can be.” And why shouldn’t she? People‘s editors have deemed a reality star’s quest for “perfection” more important than an exclusive interview with the President and First Lady.

Six months ago the media was teeming with commentary on how tragic it was that Michael Jackson died never being at peace with his appearance, and many people lamented that a cosmetic surgeons never told him enough was enough. Now when another (albeit far less talented) person in the spotlight announces that she’s “obsessed” with surgery, magazines reward her with fame and publish photos for the public to scrutinize every inch of her more “perfect” body. Charming, that.

@emmyrossum [Twitter]
Heidi Montag: Addicted to Plastic Surgery [People]

Earlier: Obamas’ Discuss Mammograms & Tiger Woods, Offer Movie Recommendations

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