The Heidi Montag Case: Thoughts On Plastic Surgery

Lately I've been thinking about plastic surgery.

No, not about getting it myself! About other people getting plastic surgery.

I think it started when I saw an article in our dental office about Heidi from a show called The Hills. The article followed her journey of getting ten different plastic surgery procedures done in one day. Apparently she got her chin reduced, her eyebrows arched, augmentation, liposuction, Botox, fat injections in various areas of her face, and her ears pinned back.

I didn't really know who she was, and with all that work done I figured she must be in her late thirties at least. But she's only 23 years old, and I guess she had her first plastic surgeries at the age of 21.

Here are some before and after pictures - the first two are from US News, the third one is from NY Daily News.

Does anyone see anything wrong with the way she looked before? I don't. She was a natural beauty, and now she's an unnatural beauty.

I guess I'm just a little confused. I can understand plastic surgery in some cases, but I just don't see anything wrong with the before pictures.

This is disturbing to me for a few reasons:

1. This is just what celebrities do, and I think it reflects a deeper problem in our society. I read the article (I know - but it's like a car accident or something, you just can't look away), and it stated that all celebrities are doing these plastic surgeries, Heidi Montag is just the only one that's willing to talk about it.

I know part of the reason that celebrities get these surgeries is because they have the resources to do them, but I think it really comes down to pressure from society. Celebrities are expected to be perfect physically, even though there are very few standards placed on their behavior. This pressure for physical perfection might come from peer pressure, because if one celebrity is doing it, everyone else has to keep up.

But I think alot of the pressure comes from the rest of us as well. I remember listening to the radio a couple years ago, and some DJ was complaining about Brittany Spears being out of shape. Why do we care so much if Brittany Spears is in perfect shape or not? I don't care, do you?

But she was getting a pretty hard time for being too heavy at that time. Why does a person have to have a perfect body, or perfect looks, just because they're famous? I think alot of people just want to point out flaws in other people to feel better about themselves, and famous people bear the brunt of it because they're so much in the public eye.

I'm guilty of this at times as well - I make a mental note if some actress gained a bunch of weight, and it does make me feel better about my own weight. Is that right? Absolutely not. But physical beauty is an idol in our culture, and it can sneak into even the most well-meaning hearts.

I think it is important to try to stay in good shape, but being in good shape can look alot different from person to person depending on a variety of factors. It's okay to try to maintain a healthy appearance, but our society doesn't just want healthy bodies - it wants Barbie and Ken doll bodies. And that's the problem.

In the end, it's disturbing to me that as a society we're so self-concsious about our looks - enough that people spend ten billion dollars a year on cosmetic surgery (See for more facts on plastic surgery).

2. It disturbs me to think of someone who is naturally beautiful like that hating her looks so much that she gets that many plastic surgeries at the age of 23.

I know people like to fight the aging process, and alot of the money that's spent on plastic surgeries is to combat wrinkles and that downward pull on our features that comes with aging. But if you're getting so many plastic surgeries at 23 years old, you must be genuinely unhappy with your whole appearance.

Every person who ever lived was made in the image of God. He knew what they would look like before He knit them together in the womb (Psalm 139:13). He gave them their eyes, their noses, their figures, and he wove them together in the depths of the earth (Psalm 139:15).

But we don't appreciate the way He has made us - we pick out every little flaw that we can find, flaws that are not measured by His standards, but by our culture's standards. I have done this myself, as I suspect many of you have as well.

Heidi Montag's story has just reminded me how far this dislike of our physical appearances can go, and I think it must grieve Him that we so often despise His handiwork.

3. Finally, it disturbs me because people like Heidi Montag are trying to attain personal fulfillment from physical beauty. It saddens me, because they will never reach personal fulfillment or happiness that way, and they don't even know it.

People spend their whole lives looking for fulfillment from many different places, not realizing that they'll only find true fulfillment through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Lord is the only one who can fill that empty place that each of us have from the moment we're born - He's the only one who can give us purpose and joy in life.

And so many people look in the wrong places for that.

Physical beauty is not like a mountain top - it's not something that you can reach to remain there as long as you like. It's like a slippery, rocky slope - you get a little higher only to realize that while you were enjoying the view you have slid back down again without realizing it. And it will be that way until we die. As Proverbs says:

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

People don't realize that instead of spending so much time and money and effort chasing happiness through things that don't last, they could be enjoying true fulfillment by living out their purpose in life - to know and glorify God. And for someone to spend their life looking everywhere else except to Jesus for that kind of fulfillment, only to realize their mistake when they leave this world, is the greatest personal tragedy that any person will ever know.

Do you have that fulfillment and purpose and joy that only comes in Christ? I hope that you'll share that message with someone this week, even if it's just in a blog post (like me).

So many are lost out there. They're waiting for someone to show them where they need to go. Let's be the ones to point them to the only Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6), shall we?

I'll pray for you in your efforts if you pray for me in mine.

You may also like:
chloƫ. said...

oh callie, thanks for this post. i understand your feelings towards plastic surgery and i saw that same story about heidi montag. it breaks my heart because she was such a pretty girl to begin with and i'm sure countless amounts of women wished they looked like her, but she thought she wasn't good enough and that is so so tragic. now i think she doesn't look well or healthy at all.

but i especially appreciated the end of this post. i know God has been calling me to be a more vocal witness of my faith and to be quite honest, i'm scared. in church this past sunday, the pastor equated our apathetic attitude towards the lost as people who walk past a bleeding man on the street without even bothering to call 911. we would think horribly of people who did that in real life, but how often do i do that in the spiritual sense? far too often.

i will certainly pray for you in this journey, and hope you will pray for me in return. thanks again, friend.

Brittney Galloway said...

Great post Callie! I totally agree with you on all points, and it saddens me to think the pressures my {future} children will feel.

Unknown said...

I have never agreed with Plastic Surgery unless it is for medical reasons.

I have watched a couple of episodes of Heidi in The Hills. She is a real attention seeker so am I overly surprised she has done this? No.

Your right though, there is so much pressure in society to be this 'perfect' person. And sadly I can only imagine it will get worse =[

~M~ said...

It just breaks my heart that so much emphasis is put on outward beauty.

Anna said...

Well said, Callie! Great post, and great conclusion (very challenging!). I so appreciate your heart.

Claire said...

This post was soooo thought provoking! Thank you! I watched the Hills (the reality show Heidi is on) a lot when I was in college... she was always so beautiful, and I was shocked when I found out she had had the surgeries done. I watched the Hills for the first time in a long time the other night, and they showed Heidi visiting her family in CO for the first time after the surgeries... her mom was devastated and asked Heidi why she would want to change herself when she was such a beautiful girl to begin with... Heidi said things like "i've never been happy with the way I look", etc. but she also mentioned living in Hollywood. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that's why a lot of these stars get this work done... there is so much pressure in Hollywood to look a certain way... and it's pressure a lot of us in the rest of the country don't feel to the same extent. Heidi started crying on the show... and her face was so distorted... she couldn't cry properly because her face is part plastic now and didn't like bend normally. It's so sad. And it's a cycle... you know, because now the body parts that she didn't get operated on, will age while the newer parts won't... so she's locked into this horrible cycle. SO sad. It makes me realize that I need to be more confident who God made me to be as well.

Jenene said...

I remember when a friend of mine got plastic surgery. I hadn't seen her for a couple of years after she graduated. Then one day I saw her in church, and it took me a few minutes to recognize her. She claimed she had just got a chin implant, but her whole face was different!

And she was 21. She was so beautiful without the surgery! I don't know what she was thinking.

It's so sad.

And yet, I wonder: if we had that much money to waste, wouldn't we be tempted to do the same thing? No woman is immune from being unhappy with parts of her body. The only difference is that Heidi has the money to change those things.

Can we really say that if we had her riches, we wouldn't walk the same way?

It's something to think about...

© Through Clouded Glass. Design by MangoBlogs.