Angela Perry always knew she wanted to have larger breasts; in fact, she can’t imagine a woman who wouldn’t.
“What girl doesn’t want breasts?” Perry said in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight. The 25-year-old sales associate at Guess has been going under the knife since she was 19.
Perry has undergone breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, Botox injections, pixel laser resurfacing, Juvéderm, and Intense Pulsed Light therapy. She insists that cosmetic surgery is simply about sprucing up your look and using technological advancements to your benefit.
“I feel like surgery is good grooming,” she said. “Like if you have messy hair, you brush it; if you have a cavity, you fill it.”
Dr. Nick Carr, a plastic surgeon in Vancouver, sees young women in his office on a regular basis and thinks their interest in cosmetic surgery is increasing. Carr, who spoke with the Straight by phone between surgeries, said he thinks the fascination with plastic surgery borders on an obsession for some young people.
“I think there is an absolute fascination with some young women—with the idea of having plastic surgery,” he said.
Carr, who belongs to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is prohibited by the organization from performing breast augmentations on patients under the age of 18 for purely cosmetic reasons, and maintains that no surgery should be seen as a trivial procedure.
The practice of young Hollywood stars changing their appearance is widespread, with one of the most recent being reality-TV star Heidi Montag. She appeared on the cover of People magazine in January boasting about having had 10 plastic-surgery procedures in one day.
Sonya Parmar of the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective is concerned that the wrong message is being sent to people. She fears that young women are making these decisions without realizing the full consequences of elective surgery—both physical and emotional.
She believes that the negative attitude young women have toward their own appearance and that of others has made plastic surgery an attractive option.
“I don’t think the perception of plastic surgery is that it’s a huge decision in terms of both finances and the effects on your health,” she told the Straight in a phone interview.
The organization runs a series of workshops that aim to help young women combat the slew of mixed messages they receive on a daily basis about body image. According to Parmar, the workshops teach them to feel good about themselves and support other women around them.
“It just seems sad that this has become the focus of young women’s priorities,” she said. “Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to be doing.”
As for Perry, she plans on getting a few more nips and tucks to maintain her looks over time. While she’s thrilled with the work she’s had done, she says it’s important to do it for yourself and not because of outside pressure.
“Don’t change something if it’s not broken,” she said. “But if there is something that bothers you then change it—it can improve your self-confidence.”