I’m a little surprised nothing has been posted on this. Stop me if I’m wrong.

Modern technology gives us a billion options, and medical technology is no exception. Although we live in an age that claims personality and values should be favored over aesthetic appeal, we glorify the beautiful. We are constantly discontent with ourselves. And well, others are discontent with us.

One in five college girls supposedly has an eating disorder. One in ten for males. I found this particularly interesting- teenagers and young adults are getting botox injections (one doctor cited about 30% of his botox clientele is 20-25 years old).
Breast augmentation doesn’t seem so strange anymore.  Piercing, tattoos, whatever. We have procedures and products claimed to: permanently shave hair, grow hair, stop sweating, reduce weight, gain muscle, cure cellulite, heal acne, and reshape the very features of our face.

Then there are the common rituals, some almost barbaric in nature: waxing, tweezing, teasing, shaving, facial masks, make-up, contacts, pantyhose, etc etc. (Most of these are attributed to women, transvestites, or metrosexuals.)

As a human race, we seem to be doing all we can to prevent aging and prolong our lifespan. As atheists, there should be no moral god-given dilemma to this, at least.

With the exception of the asexual, we’re all attracted by something. It’s inherent and instinctual, isn’t it? I’m not saying it can’t be conditioned, but we all have it. Therefore, I wonder about the ethics of making yourself attractive to the general populous, to yourself, or to your partner. After all, if beauty is skin deep, isn’t it meaningless to change, in a moral standpoint? Or is the entire idea of being able to change yourself counterintuitive? Is it wrong? Does it compromise who you are, is it mentally unhealthy to try?

Is it ethical to change your physical appearance, and when does it become unethical? Would you consider it?

Why is it that the influx of gorgeous celebrities has not appeared to affect men in the same way? Or has it?

Scenario- Your significant other is charming, funny, intelligent, but not physically attractive to you. Say they were considering serious cosmetic surgery. What would you say?

There are plenty of things I’ve thought about changing about myself. Some I have, some I’m trying to. Others, the more “serious” type, well… I’m not against it, but I get the feeling my crowd is. And they’re meaningful to me. This isn’t a “should I get giant titties” advice thread, I just wanted to know what your feelings are. In general, not on the titties. Honestly, you guys. 

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Breast reduction is the most common cosmetic plastic surgery in men. So they are affected by ideals to become manly, to have smooth pecs, six-packs, full heads of hair, strong jawlines, etc. The difference is to what degree these men are affected. Historically, they were not as strongly affected because women chose them based on their ability to provide, but nowadays, because women are self-sufficient, they are able to be pickier in what they want from a man, which means more interest in attractiveness.

I can understand why plastic surgery is appealing to us. We want to breed with the best we can get. Surgery can turn someone from a 5 to an 8 on a 10-point scale, widening our options. It allows you to fix whatever you hated about yourself based on society's ideals or your own perceived flaws. And changing your appearance drastically in a positive manner does really boost self-confidence, which also helps make the person more attractive.

Remember, for most women, your value is on your appearance. Aging is still seen negatively. Being darker tones or ethnic can be considered negative. You aren't just judged by men, either, but also by other women.

I think the greatest ethical issue is doing such cosmetic surgeries on minors, even with parental consent. I do not think a sixteen-year old is ready to understand the implications and potential complications of fixing her nose or enhancing her breasts. Plus, she may find the changes less attractive as she ages and fashions change. Breast enhancements can be removed, but she will never get her old nose back. Note, I'm only talking about cosmetic, not ones considered more necessary in situations like breast reductions for girls who are in pain or fixing hare lips.

For me, physical attraction is more than something than just plastic surgery can fix. So I think I would just keep that person in my friends' zone. Even if they were considering plastic surgery, it wouldn't change enough for me to want more. I don't even know how I ended up with a significant other I'm not physically attracted to. >.>;; But if someone is seriously considering it and understands the risks, then I'd support them, no matter what.
Re: anorexia, I wanted to forward this article by Scientific American: Mind, which goes into the neurological roots of anorexia. Part of the reason women are afflicted with anorexia, it seems, is because women's brains are just more susceptible to the disease due primarily to hormonal differences. This doesn't mean, of course, that body image has nothing to do with the disorder.

On body modification more generally, though, I really feel like it's almost an inherently good thing. What I mean is that none of us get to pick the way we look, it just basically happens to us. Anything that allows people more freedom in deciding how to represent themselves is, in a basic sense, a good thing to me.

Of course, a lot of people are going do whatever they think will make other people like them better, but that seems to be more of an issue with self-confidence than with body modification itself - I mean, people already do the same thing with clothes, music, and everything else.

What would be really cool is if we could all completely customize our own bodies, like in an MMORPG or Stone. Imagine what it would do to gender issues if we could all choose which sex or gender we wanted to be, whenever we wanted to... though I'm getting off topic now.
Anorexia can be about being thin, but it can also be other things. I've met anorexics that didn't want to be adult, sexual beings (since anorexia stunts menstruation and having "womanly" features) and even one who had an eating disorder b/c she thought of how eating was killing other (I'm supposing plant and animal) living beings. I've also heard it can be (unconsciously) a way of making oneself get as close to disappearing as possible. Sort of the same idea as some overeaters "hiding" in an overweight body.

Wanting to change one's appearance, I think, is not such an ethical issue, except that people can become so vain that they neglect "inner beauty" (in other words, they're shallow assholes). What is really unethical though, is making people feel that there is something horribly wrong with how they look. It's all about inventing problems that previously either no one noticed or they took for granted.

You did put body modification in the same discussion as plastic surgery. Each of these is accepted by different groups of people that don't necessarily overlap, yet they are similar. They are done so a person can look the way that they want. There can also be pressure to fit in for either one. I read an interview by Sasha Grey (porn star) where she was saying tattooed chicks are today's girls with breast implants, or something like that, but I didn't really get it. Now I think I see what she is saying.
Self improvement is masturbation, Now self destruction, that's the answer.
lol It's from fight club. Her post reminds me of the scene where Jack and Tyler are standing on the bus and Jack looks at Tyler and says "Is that what a man is supposed to look like?" And Tyler replies with "Self improvement is masturbation, Now self destruction, that's the answer."
I'm afraid to improve myself. O_O




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