Plastic surgery for teens can improve body image and boost self-esteem, some argue. But one survey shows that pressure to achieve the “perfect” image defined by the media is driving many girls to destructive behaviors.
When you think of teenagers, what comes to mind? Terrible music? Video games?
Although these things may be part of the teen lifestyle, many adolescents these days are far more focused on self-esteem and body-image issues.
Thankfully, most teens overcome their self-image issues without too many marks on their permanent record. Trendy clothes and Goth makeup are the therapy of choice for some; others focus on diet and exercise to get the image they’re looking for.
Unfortunately, some teenagers have body image concerns beyond the help of androgynous shock-rockers or a pricey Hollister shirt. Blame it on the fashion industry, blame it on TV, but lately more and more kids of high school age and even younger are becoming obsessed with being physically “perfect” (usually as defined by the television shows and movies they see). In extreme cases, some of these teens see plastic surgery as their only hope.
The problems resulting from a poor body image can be dangerous–especially among teenage girls. A recent survey of more than a thousand American girls, sponsored by Dove, found that three out of four teenage girls who reported having low self-esteem also had eating disorders, behavior problems like self mutilation and bullying, or problems with drugs and alcohol. Among girls who felt they had good self-esteem, only one in four engaged in such behaviors.
Although the number patients under 18 who are choosing cosmetic surgery has actually declined since 2001, the most-recent stats from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that minimally invasive procedures – like injections and chemical peels – are actually on the rise.
Helping teens – especially girls – develop a strong self-image is vital. And corrective surgery or cosmetic procedures may well be an answer in some cases, but not always.
You can find out more about teen self esteem issues by logging on to Mental Health America’s website at mentalhealthamerica.net.