Does wanting plastic surgery make you a bad feminist? Anna Faris – who underwent a breast augmentation shortly after her divorce – has her say…
Whether it’s using make-up, shaving your legs, dyeing your hair or undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, there’s no denying that women’s decisions about their own bodies have the potential to spark huge debates – particularly when viewed through a feminist lens.
After all, does changing the way you look mean that you’re taking back control of your own appearance? Or does it mean that you’re giving in to the overwhelming pressure of the patriarchy?
It’s a subject Anna Faris has addressed during a new interview with Women’s Health, in which she’s opened up about the conflicting emotions she felt after getting a “boob job”, and how she finally came to terms with getting plastic surgery as a feminist.
“I was always a negative-A cup, so when I was 30, I was getting a divorce [from my first husband, Ben Indra], I had just finished House Bunny, and I’d sold another movie, all of these new things were happening to me, so I got my breasts done. It was f**king awesome,” she said.
“I never, ever thought I’d do something like that. I always thought plastic surgery was caving in to ‘the man,’ you know? But it came down to a really simple thing: I wanted to fill out a bikini. What would that feel like?”
Faris added that she spent a long time trying to reconcile her decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure with her feminist beliefs, admitting: “I’m still floored that I did it, because I am a staunch feminist.
“I kept thinking, Am I betraying my own gender by doing this?”
Read more: Can I be a feminist and still love make-up?
Eventually, though, Faris came to the conclusion that women should be able to do whatever makes them happy.
“I wish that we were more supportive of each other,” she said.
“I think that people should be able to do whatever they want, whether it’s getting braces, bleaching their hair, getting extensions, getting a boob job, getting vaginal surgery, or getting a nose job.”
Of course, there’s no denying that the line between your genuine wants and needs, and those which society has conditioned you to believe, can be a difficult one to determine.
Speaking to InStyle, Dr Laura S. Brown – a licensed therapist and psychologist – explains: “I’ve been pro-choice on all issues relating to women’s bodies since forever, and it’s the same thing with making choices about reproduction. Is it your choice, or is it someone else’s?
“Because if it’s not your choice—and I don’t care what that choice is—it’s not going to be one that reflects the values of feminism. You have to make that conclusion in order to do anything.”
It is an opinion supported by Dr Laura Devgan, a plastic surgeon in New York City, who recently told Coveteur that she thinks most judgments about plastic surgery are simply made without much information or empathy.
“Something I’ve really learned to appreciate in my daily job is that it’s very difficult to walk in another person’s shoes,” she said.
“You may think that rhinoplasties are for vain, frivolous Hollywood types, but if you’re someone who has always felt bad about the way your nose looks, and you can’t take pictures in a certain way, and you’re always doing your makeup in order to camouflage it, then maybe getting your nose done is just the thing that enables you to come out of your shell and move forward with your life.”
Devgan, pointing out that men aren’t forced to be apologetic about their plastic surgery choices, added: “I honestly think it’s very misogynistic and damaging to put people in a box and say that caring about this thing negates your intellectual capacity to care about all these other things.”
Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, who recently became a brand ambassador for No. 7, has similarly dismissed the age-old accusation that women who care about their appearance are somehow less intellectually gifted.
“I think it’s time to really stop that ridiculous idea that somehow if you’re a serious woman you can’t and should not care about how you look,” she said.
“[When I moved to America], I quickly realised that for a woman to be taken seriously and to be seen as a ‘serious intellectual person’, she couldn’t possibly look as though she cared a lot about her appearance,” added Adichie.
But she eventually decided to stop caring, realising the pleasure make-up brought her.
“On the days when I think my cat-eye is good, it just makes me happy,” she said.
Essentially, it’s all too easy to pick someone apart for making a choice you wouldn’t necessarily agree with – whether it be shaving their body hair, wearing high heels to work, applying make-up on a daily basis or undergoing a breast augmentation.
The best thing to do is to live and let live – and remember that a feminist is a person of any gender who believes in equality of the sexes, no matter what their outer shell looks like.