Body Positivity in the World of Aesthetics
I’m going to dig a little deeper this week and talk about something that is very close to my heart. Body positivity.
As a dental professional for over 30 years, one who has started performing more cosmetic procedures, the question has weighed on me: Can Botox, fillers, or even cosmetic dentistry be body positive?
It’s something I’ve thought long and hard about because of my own life experiences. You see, I myself struggled for years with body issues.
As a child, I was blessed with what some may call some “extra weight.” My parents decided, affectionately, to give me the nickname “Miss Piggy.” It was an ongoing joke throughout my adolescence, and they even bought me a nightgown with “Miss Piggy” printed boldly on the front, which I was encouraged to wear.
As I ripened into a young woman, my body changed, and I thinned out. Now I had a new nickname: Bones. And herein lies the problem. That we as women are forced to endure ongoing comments about our bodies, whether we are small, large, or anything in between. It’s just something we have to deal with as a part of being women. Even now–I’m almost 50–it still affects me, and I struggle with it on a daily basis.
For the last few years, I’ve been working with a personal trainer who encourages me to look in the mirror every day and say something positive about myself. Out loud. She believes, as I do, that the cells in our bodies can actually “hear” these things, and that such positivity can actually change our mindsets and the way we feel in our skin.
In my profession, I see hundreds of beautiful women walk into my office who hate something about themselves. They dislike their teeth, they dislike their bodies, their nose, their jawline. And it doesn’t help that they spend all their time on Social Media where people use filters and editing to create completely unrealistic images of themselves. Frankly, this is a sad state of affairs. However, and at the same time, I do think that working on yourself, and even resorting to various aesthetic procedures such as Botox or cosmetic dentistry, can in fact be body positive, as long as you are doing it for YOU.
Speaking very generally, I think that if you feel a need to change your physical appearance because you are constantly comparing yourself to others or measuring your body on the basis of other people’s bodies, and finding yourself to be inadequate in that comparison, then that might indicate that your desire to change is coming from an unhealthy place. But if that desire is coming more purely from within you, and flows from a healthy mindset (and not from incessant comparisons with other people), then such aesthetic or cosmetic procedures can very well be helpful, even empowering. What’s most important is that you be honest with yourself about what you want, and why.
Body Positive Influencer and Plus Size model Tess Holiday recently came under fire for being open and honest about her plastic surgery. Here’s what she had to say:
“People like to say that getting plastic surgery can’t be body positive, but of course it can be!” Holliday writes. “It’s your body to present how you wish.”
However, she goes on to explain that it isn’t body positive to be dishonest about undergoing cosmetic procedures “because that just sets up another unattainable beauty standard.”
As a mother of 2 young women, it’s my job to remind them of the beauty they each possess, both inside and out. Their bodies could not be any different from one another, and they are both breathtakingly beautiful. As women, we need to support each other, both in our bodies and in our decisions about our bodies. We need to build each other up, not tear each other down. It is part of my mission as a professional, for myself and for my business, to always lift my fellow women up; I hope that this becomes a more common practice as our cultural ideas about beauty continue to evolve.
If you are considering an aesthetic treatment with a cosmetic dentist, I’d love to chat! I always recommend booking a consultation so we can discuss your goals from a place of body positivity and overall health. As an experienced and passionate Colorado Springs cosmetic dentist, I’d be honored to help guide you on your journey to self-love!