Approach to cosmetic surgery
Although the pursuit of beauty and the desire to stay young have always existed, cosmetic surgery was only developed in the early 1900’s with advancements in anatomic knowledge, analgesia, and asepsis. It emerged as the most effective way to achieve or preserve beauty. Its development is linked to the reconstructive surgery widely used during the first World War. Although most surgeons in this field practice both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, they rarely state it because of the stigmatization of cosmetic surgery, both in Europe and in the United States. In addition, just like in every other professional field, some unscrupulous practitioners use certain women’s emotional weakness (and vanity) for their own benefit, only to obtain more money without any merit. By doing that, they tarnish the image of the remarkable practice of plastic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is equivalent to what we call “aesthetic surgery” in many other languages. The word aesthetic emerged in the 18th century in Germany in Alexander Baumgarten’s work, the Aesthetica, written between 1750 and 1758 (trad. fr., L’Herne, 1988). Aesthetics is described as the science of sensible knowledge, it is what stimulates sensibility universally, like for example the sight of sunset.
Later, Kant describes this science from a different perspective: aesthetic judgment is independent from attractiveness, which is not useful and only gives pleasure of free contemplation. However, when it comes to human beings, a sense of functionality is necessary.
It is a “disinterested pleasure”,”a universal feeling” but “with no concept”. As explained by Baumgarten, aesthetic judgment claims universal assent. Beauty is separate from what is good and from pleasure. “Pleasure and good are both linked to desire, which is why they involve satisfaction; however, the judgment of taste is purely contemplative: indifferent to objects, it is judgment that unites nature to feelings of pleasure of pain. But this contemplation is not based on these concepts”.
I have adopted Kant’s concepts since a long time and they are valuable in all fields: we cannot expect aesthetics to define beauty standards, as it is a theory of sensibility that brings us the pleasure of contemplation, which is linked to functionality for living creatures.
Do you want to achieve beauty ? This will have to come from look, function, and from deep inside of you. You will have to achieve the stimulation of pleasurable contemplative judgment in others that is reproducible universally.
Do you want to be attractive ? It will have to fit a certain culture, history, and standards.
…Or do you simply want to feel better about yourself by recovering your eyes, your breasts, your morphological features that degraded over time?
Maybe you also want to reflect current beauty standards to boost your own self-confidence ?
There are various reasons to favor cosmetic surgery, and all body parts can be improved through a multitude of procedures. What is essential is to know what we want to improve and what the goal of the procedure is.