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(Solved) I need an evaluative essay on the article below Thesis: When performed safely and judiciously, cosmetic surgery can make up for nature's deficiencies...

I need an evaluative essay on the article below

Thesis: When performed safely and judiciously, cosmetic surgery can make up for nature’s deficiencies and offer hope to the disheartened.

Summary: Cosmetic surgery is sometimes necessary in a world where people are often judged on first impressions. Although our diverse, multicultural society has become much more accepting of physical differences - especially those associated with ethnicity - an innate sense of beauty, as well as an ingrained notion of attractiveness, defines the most desirable physical qualities. Those who don’t measure up often feel alienated, suffer from unsatisfying relationships, and face job discrimination. Low self-esteem is especially common among the more mature members of society, whose bodies often obscure the youthful vibrancy inside. When performed safely and judiciously, cosmetic surgery can raise self-esteem and provide salvation for those who are locked inside their misery.


All men are not created equal; some inherit far more unattractive or unappealing features than others, including fat cells, buckteeth, or premature baldness. In addition, noses can take a multitude of shapes, ranging from sleek and perky, to bulbous or feline.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence most certainly did not consider a tummy tuck or face-lift when they asserted the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but they provided the necessary foundation to justify the field of cosmetic surgery. In the early twenty-first century, plastic surgery took up where nature left off, and continues to provide freedom and dignity as it transforms lives.

What is Beauty?

What is beauty? Where do humans get their ideal of what constitutes an attractive woman or man? Studies have determined that our appreciation of facial beauty is innate, or at least that the rudimentary characteristics of beauty are innate. Regardless of gender, nationality, or race, infants prefer faces that are symmetrical, with equally shaped eyes on the same plane and a nose centered in between.

As babies grow up, they become more selective, although the appreciation for symmetry remains. The perception of beauty becomes refined by cultural and social values. While breast implants are one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, breast reductions are more often requested in Brazil. Women in the US would probably cringe at the thought of wearing a lip disc on a date but, in some cultures, lip plates are a sign of beauty and the bigger the lips, the more beautiful the woman.

Values also change from generation to generation. While tanned bodies portray a sense of fitness in the early twenty-first century, pale skin epitomized the ideal of beauty during much of the nineteenth century, and men were thought to be most handsome when they looked weak rather than brawny. Furthermore, the role played by culture and society in defining beauty is extremely important. The Chinese tradition of binding female feet left millions of women grossly deformed, yet families complied because small feet were the norm. Some Native American tribes bound their babies’ heads to wooden boards to produce a more desirable head shape.

An increasing number of new mothers are seeking cosmetic procedures known as ‘mommy makeovers’ to recover their pre-pregnancy bodies. The procedure typically involves tightening the belly, removing extra fat via liposuction and using the extracted tissue to augment the breasts.

Our diverse, multicultural society has become much more accepting of physical differences, especially those associated with race or ethnicity. However, each culture still sets a definite standard for beauty. To conform, teenagers endure braces, gray hair is concealed with dye, and people of all ages maintain gym memberships and spend their lunchtimes jogging.

Beauty, Ageism and Work

Measuring up to the cultural ideal of beauty has become necessary in this competitive, media-saturated world, especially for those in certain occupations. Any job that involves standing in front of a camera, walking down a runway, or selling personal beauty items requires a thin, well-proportioned body and an attractive face with clear eyes and a finely shaped nose. Toned muscles and a well-defined jaw are particularly helpful for men. Even jobs that are not terribly glamorous often seem to require a youthful, trim appearance and photogenic face.

The sad fact for people over 50 - or even over 40 for that matter - is that ageism runs rampant throughout the entire corporate world. As soon as the hair turns gray, the likelihood of getting a pink slip or being overlooked for a promotion increases. Older job hunters are often passed over for workers who seem to possess more youthful vitality, despite laws that prohibit age discrimination. No wonder face lifts and neck tucks are becoming so prevalent among baby boomers, who have much to offer during this highly productive time of their lives, but often feel slighted.

Research has indicated the existence of a ‘halo effect,’ which often comes into play during job interviews and affects the decisions made by interviewers. Attractive people do not necessarily get offered more and better positions, although that sometimes does occur. Rather, attractive people are selected more often because, due to the halo effect, they are perceived to be more intelligent and socially adept. Clearly, a nose job or liposuction could give a job applicant an advantage. In fact, a 2009 survey found that 73 percent of women believed appearance played an important part in the job market, particularly during tough economic times. Thirteen percent of women had considered cosmetic surgery as a means to further their career, and 3 percent of the women surveyed had already undergone cosmetic surgery with the express purpose of securing their place in the workforce.

Survival of the Prettiest

Competition among men to date the most beautiful women, and vice versa, is quite common. Those who are average looking, or homely, might as well look the other way when a good-looking individual approaches. Studies have shown time and again that individuals tend to choose mates based on how attractive they are, or how attractive they perceive themselves to be.

Social scientists attribute much of this behavior to genetics, evolution, and the need to carry on the human race. Males are hard-wired to seek out females of reproductive age who exhibit signs of good health, which translates into the cutest, sexiest girls with attractive waist-to-hips proportions, curvaceous busts and pleasing, symmetrical faces. Females, on the other hand, are programmed to look for signs of status, which in human terms, may involve looking past the physical qualities and zeroing in on the bank account or wardrobe.

Of course, these are shallow generalizations. Most couples make a commitment only after they have explored what lies beneath the surface, but the research is still significant. Looks matter in the first stage of the competition, and attractiveness is a matter of survival, especially for women. In fact, women accounted for 87 percent of the 7.2 million cosmetic surgery procedures performed in 2008.

Cosmetic Surgery and Self-Esteem

Our society’s preoccupation with youth, beauty, and fitness affects each person differently. Some are oblivious, while others count every new wrinkle or wince at every ounce gained. For most individuals, body image plays an important role in self-esteem and helps define one’s sense of self.

Dissatisfaction can begin early in life. A preoccupation with a less-than-perfect nose during the teenage years could begin an endless, internal battle that interferes with a person’s overall quality of life. Older people often find that their aging bodies no longer reflect the youthful exuberance they feel inside. In both scenarios, cosmetic surgery can bring peace of mind and allow one to live a more satisfying life. For children who were born with birth defects or acquired a deformity early in life, plastic surgery can hold the key to a promising future filled with positive social interactions and healthy relationships. In 2009, legislation was introduced to require insurance companies to cover reconstructive procedures to correct birth defects and other deformities in children.

Plastic surgeons state emphatically that most people choose cosmetic surgery not to please others, but to please themselves. Liposuction for those repulsed by extra fat around the stomach, breast augmentation for those who yearn for more or less cleavage, and hair transplants for those whose balding heads remind them incessantly of their mortality can raise self-esteem so that individuals will live happier, more productive lives. Sometimes all it takes is the removal of a facial mole to give a person a whole new outlook on life.


The government has been offering plastic surgery under the Federal Witness Protection Program for decades. For these people, a new nose can literally be the gift of life. One can view cosmetic surgery performed under other circumstances as a gift of life, too. Cosmetic surgery can enhance careers and relationships, and provide salvation for those who are unhappy. Cosmetic surgery offers hope for the disheartened.

Ponder This

1. Of the points presented, which provided the strongest argument for cosmetic surgery, and why? Which was the weakest?

  • 2. Do you think the author confronts the most compelling issues related to the debate over cosmetic surgery? Why or why not?
  • 3. Both facts and opinions were used to support the argument. Provide an example of one fact and one opinion used in the article.
  • 4. How would you describe the tone of this essay? Does the tone have any bearing on the strength of the argument?



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Gilman, Sander L. “Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery.” Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Perry, Arthur W. “Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery.” New Haven: Yale Univ Press, 2007.


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Daniels, Cora. “Nipped, Tucked, You?” Men’s Fitness, 23.7 (Sept. 2007): 134-37. Online. EBSCO.

Figueroa, Cynthia. “Self-Esteem and Cosmetic Surgery: Is There a Relationship Between the Two?.” Plastic Surgical Nursing23.1 (Spring2003 2003): 21. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

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Goldberg, Dori, and Mary Maloney. “Dermatologic Surgery And Cosmetic Procedures During Pregnancy And The Post-Partum Period.” Dermatologic Therapy 26.4 (2013): 321-330. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Hamilton, Kendall, and Julie Weingarden.. “Lifts, lasers and liposuction: The cosmetic surgery boom.” Newsweek 131.24 (15 June 1998): 14. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

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Ibrahimi, Omar A., et al. “Perceptions Of Expertise In Cutaneous Surgery And Cosmetic Procedures: What Primary Care Physicians Think.” Dermatologic Surgery 38.10 (2012): 1645-1651. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Kalb, Claudia, et al. “Our Quest To Be Perfect.” Newsweek 134.6 (09 Aug. 1999): 52. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

Levisohn, Ben. “How CEOs Lead with Their Chins.” Business Week (14 January 2008): 17. Online. EBSCO.

Meisler, Jodi Godfrey. “Conversation with the Experts: Toward Optimal Health: The Experts Discuss Cosmetic Surgery.”Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine 9.1 (Jan. 2000): 13-18. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

Morgan, Kathryn Pauly. “Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies .” Hypatia 6.3 (Fall91 1991): 25-53. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

Quartarone, Valeria, et al. “A Comparison Of Laws Preventing Unnecessary Canine Cosmetic Surgery In Italy And In The Czech Republic.” Acta Veterinaria Brno 81.1 (2012): 83-88. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Sharma, Vijay. “Changing Faces: Patient Information on Cosmetic Surgery Part 1.” International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology 4.4 (Dec. 2002): 269-278. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

Sanchez Taylor, Jacqueline. “Buying And Selling Breasts: Cosmetic Surgery, Beauty Treatments And Risk.” Sociological Review 60.4 (2012): 635-653. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Shiffman, Melvin A. “Beauty in Cosmetic Surgery.” International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetic Dermatology Dec. 2001: 233+. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009

Stacey, Michelle. “My Sorority Dumped Me.” Cosmopolitan, 242.6 (June 2007): 160-2. Online. EBSCO.

Tam, Kim-Pong, et al. “Attitudes Toward Cosmetic Surgery Patients: The Role Of Culture And Social Contact.” Journal Of Social Psychology 152.4 (2012): 458-479. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Wein, Bibi. “The Changing Face of Cosmetic Surgery.” Biography 6.7 (July 2002): 62. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 18 June 2009


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Women in the workforce link cosmetic surgery to success.” 10 Feb. 2009. Accessed 19 April, 2009. “Regaining shape after childbirth: Mommy makeovers!” Accessed 19 April, 2009.

These essays and any opinions, information or representations contained therein are the creation of the particular author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of EBSCO Information Services.


By Sally Driscoll

Co-Author: Ann Griswold


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