The feminist guide to cosmetic surgery

Anything that makes you feel good is beneficial to the cause of women the world over

Share
Related Topics
It is about time the modern woman who endeavours to be politically correct in all things had a decent guide to what it is acceptable to do to her own body. What used to be called "grooming" is now a far more complicated issue which may involve expensive plastic surgery as well as extensive reworkings of feminist dogma in order to justify it. Here is my guide:

1. Breast enlargement If you really have to have this done, make sure you do it in an ironic and thoroughly post-modern way. Put your breast in permanent quotation marks. Preferably write an article about it in Playboy, like Jan Breslauer, who said, "Here's the choice: you can rail at an imperfect world, or go get yourself a great pair of bazongas." Saying words like bazongas and babes and totty show that you are so post-feminist you are practically a lad (though obviously because of your prominent bazongas no one will actually mistake you for one).

Be aware of the arguments for and against bigger bosoms and insist you are doing it for yourself and certainly not for any man. If you are a Page Three girl, deny all knowledge of silicon until it is forced out of you. Make it clear that a boob job is not a bimbo-type thing to do but environmentally friendly, and in fact the act of a highly motivated career woman.

If you are a highly motivated career woman you can purchase your breasts as a present for your new husband a la Paula Yates. Talk, also, of how your new chest makes you feel more feminine. After all, what could be more feminine than permanent falsies? Reduce the issue if you can to one of self-esteem. Anything that makes you feel good is beneficial to the cause of women the world over. Indeed, like "the butterfly effect", a boob job in some odd way helps the struggling sisters of the South.

It is probably better not to try this argument out on your Filipino cleaning lady. If none of this convinces, then tough titty.

2. Facelifts Are they a feminist issue? There are two ways to go about this. The first is to admit that you have been mugged by gravity and you just want to look younger. It is your duty to grow old disgracefully. Explain that cosmetic surgery is only an extension of the things women do to themselves anyway. Or try the argument about it being acceptable to have reconstructive surgery for bodies disfigured through accident or disease, and ask what is morally wrong in using such techniques in the service of vanity?

Whatever you do, emphasise the personal rather than political nature of this act, trotting out your feminist credentials. Try not to read Joanna Briscoe's novel Skin, which is full of horrific details about what it is like to have your face sliced off, hoiked up and stitched on again. Avoid gruesome TV documentaries full of blood, gore and hacksaws. Say it's no one else's business and put a brave face on it.

Alternatively, reconstruct your face in public like the woman who wants to be Sindy, or Orlan, the French performance artist, who has herself mutilated in the name of art. Redefining ideals of feminine beauty, Orlan has had little horns inserted into her forehead. Very fetching. Make a great play of the fact that surgery is done in a "theatre", that all femininity is a kind of performance, that in the future we will all remould ourselves and think nothing of it.

Forget about conforming to male-defined stereotypes and copy Roseanne who has morphed herself into a brand-new creature so as not to look like the parents she says abused her.

3. HRT As you get this from your doctor it has nothing to do with vanity and everything to do with good health, so no one need make a fuss about this.

4. Dieting/liposuction The dieting industry is thoroughly pernicious in encouraging women to feel terrible about themselves. As we are more enlightened these days, mainly because we have been on enough diets that haven't worked, we no longer push them down the throats of young girls. No. Instead, every magazine in town has wonderfully informative pieces about "detoxing". What's that? Starving yourself in the name of purity.

Liposuction is what to do if even detoxing doesn't work. It is also the only sure-fire way of getting rid of that late-20th-century invention, cellulite. Keep the fat that has been vacuumed out of you by your bedside. You never know where it might come in handy.

5. Eating disorder Only resort to this if none of the above works. The great advantage of an eating disorder is that you can do it all by yourself. No need for plastic surgeons or healthcare professionals (until it gets out of hand) and the results are soon visible for all to see. An eating disorder is probably the lowest-cost form of body modification, which may help to explain its enormous and growing popularity, especially among the young.

6. Toe jobs Not to be confused with eye jobs or nose jobs, so therefore perfectly acceptable. There are no lasting effects or tell-tale signs unless one happens to be a member of the Royal Family.

7. Shaving A rough one for feminists who are routinely described as hairy man-haters. Contemporary woman is so confused that she has taken to shaving in summer but not in winter, shaving her legs but not her armpits and even shaving the front but not the back of her legs. She has also been persuaded that razors for women are fundamentally different from razors for men because they come in pastel colours.

The "politics of appearance" that dominated the feminism of the Seventies and Eighties centred on an idea of "the natural", failing to understand that the natural is always culturally constructed. Writers such as Mary Daly considered any woman who wore make-up a "fembot" or a "painted bird". Now we are all so much more in touch with ourselves, we can juggle the signifiers of femininity around with gay abandon. Fembots rule.

However, these complex matters have been further convoluted by yet another new invention: "exfoliation," or the scraping off of dead skin - both real and metaphorical, you understand - which is now considered so crucial that failure to perform this extra task may lead to premature ageing, which as every woman knows is equivalent to premature death.

8. Penis reduction Also known as Bobbiting. One of the few forms of cosmetic surgery performed on men by women, and therefore an encouraging reversal of the trend.

9. Penis enlargement The one form of plastic surgery that feminists can truly claim to be united on. Men who have fat sucked out of their stomachs and injected into their penises make us laugh. We particularly like it when it all goes wrong and they end up having to have their genitals stapled up to stop them leaking. How could anyone be so stupid and vain as to do this to themselves, we wonder. Thank god we all know so much better.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'