Considering Plastic Surgery? Better Talk to Your Priest First

woman in plastic surgeon's officeSure, we're all about filtering our selfies on Instagram and coveting Kim Kardashian's booty, but the battle cry that we reject unrealistic Photoshop depictions of women's bodies and embrace natural beauty is one that's being heard loud and clear these days. So loud and clear, in fact, that the Vatican has weighed in on the issue in a new document that takes aim specifically at plastic surgery.

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The document, which in its entirety is an analysis of challenges women are facing today in society and in the church, was prepared by a panel of female consultants to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.

Apparently, in addition to all of the other horrors women have to deal with these days (infanticide, genital mutilation, crimes of honor, forced marriages, trafficking of women, sexual molestation, and rape, to name a few), we're also burdened by ... tummy tucks and face lifts! Yep. According to the document, surgically altering our appearance can "amputate the expressive possibilities of the human face, which are so connected to empathic abilities" (oops, so ... no Botox, then?) and "can be aggressive toward the feminine identity, showing a refusal of the body."

They also, rightfully, point out that elective plastic surgery may reflect the stress women feel about their bodies, which can also result in "pathologies" like eating disorders, depression, and body dysmorphia.

Fair enough, but not ALL plastic surgery is reflective of deeper emotional, mental issues. Sometimes a nose job is just a nose job. A woman might get breast implants for a bevy of reasons, from post-mastectomy reconstructive purposes to balancing out her shape or boosting her self-esteem. And women go under the knife for breast reductions to banish back pain!

In other words, as important as it is for us to embrace the bodies we were born with and not to hate on ourselves for having a bit of a "mummy tummy" after giving birth or developing crows' feet as we age, it's just as crucial that we're not made to feel guilty or stressed over doing something that ultimately makes us more comfortable in our own skin! There's nothing "aggressive" about a little nip-tuck that could actually make a major difference in how you look and, more importantly, feel.

Going to Heidi Montag/Human Barbie extremes is obviously a different story, and plastic surgeons DO need to be trained to refer patients for psychiatric support in addition to or instead of a procedure when necessary. But for many women, plastic surgery is an infrequent, benign endeavor that they likely put a lot of thought into. (If only because it's expensive!)

Ultimately, the Vatican -- or any religious group -- should be singing the praises of natural beauty and loving what your mama gave you. But we live in a time when we can all do that and simultaneously alter that body as we see fit. That's not a threat to womankind; it's our right.

How do you feel about the Vatican's problem with plastic surgery? Do you think women should see face lifts or tummy tucks as a threat?


Image via Syda Productions/shutterstock

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