The Impact of Beauty: Cosmetic Surgery, the Body Positive Movement, & Disability
What do you guys think about cosmetic surgeries on persons with visible disabilities?
I read this article on Richard Norris; the first person to receive a successful face transplant in human history. There have been many partial reconstructions but never a fully realized transplant, tongue included.
In 1997 Norris was the victim of a gun accident that mangled his face beyond recognition. His jaw was completely shattered, his tongue destroyed, and only a fleshy knob remained of what was once his nose.
Eduardo Rodriguez, a Baltimore reconstructive facial surgeon, performed the successful surgery March 19, 2012.
For almost a decade previously, Norris shunned human contact and mirrors, living in a near hermit state.
The surgery not only propelled him out into the world but made him a media sensation. Completely changing his and many other lives for the better.
His features are irregular, and there is something indefinably strange about how he looks, but his appearance is improved a thousand fold.
This all sounds good, right? No complaints, guy in tragic accident gets a new face. Win, win.
Life enhancing surgeries, like Norris’s near miraculous face transplant, are being criticized because they are not medically necessary. They are expensive and some believe them to be a waste of money.
Many formerly common physical disabilities are operated on almost at birth. Things like a cleft palate and club feet are a thing of the past in industrialized nations with universal medicare.
It is cold hard fact that perceived beauty impacts our life outcomes. Being more beautiful can significantly improve our career chances and the likelihood of successfully finding a partner.
What do you guys think? Anybody care to weigh in on cosmetic surgery versus accepting people as they are? Where to draw the line? How that line should be drawn? What would you advocate for on behalf of the people you support if their disability, or a part of it, was a visible impairment that was surgically alterable?
I find myself divided. As per usual, I think it should be up to the person. Everyone’s individual experience and needs are different.
On a happy body positive note, I leave you with Meghan Trainor’s – All About that Bass;
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