Vice News recently covered a story about a young girl who made the choice to undergo plastic surgery. Micchi lives in Japan and was 9 years old at the time of her surgery. While many may wonder why this is newsworthy, it highlights an epidemic of self-esteem issues and body dysmorphia amongst younger generations.
Learning to Love Ourselves
We all remember the days of hormonal changes and hating everything in our closets. Some teens spent hours in front of the mirror taking note of everything wrong with the reflection staring back at us. Learning to love ourselves is one of the keys to being happy in life, but that discovery certainly didn’t come in our teenage years. We eventually grew up to take pride in our intellect, and the kindness with which we treat the world. And, almost guaranteed, at least one physical attribute we recognize as “attractive” be it our eyes, smile, hair, etc.
Looking to Influencers
Little boys and girls once looked to celebrities and those in the spotlight for guidance about things that were trending. Nowadays, kids are looking at social media influencers for guidance. In recent years, the emergence of filters on social media apps has caused people everywhere to question the validity of their attractiveness. As a result, the pursuit of plastic surgery is on the rise in younger generations.
A Plastic Surgery Influencer
Nonoka Sakurai, gained popularity as a plastic surgery influencer. She was bullied in school for having large nostrils. “I was insecure because I was so unpopular among men at school,” she told Vice World News. Once she hit 18, she got her first procedure.
The procedure was for her nose, and she has since spent an equivalent of $171,801 in USD for other procedures. Feeling much more confident she’s now a full-time plastic surgery influencer. She warns other girls to be careful as, “People tell me, my face is outdated.” Or, “I liked your face from five surgeries ago.” She explains that as plastic surgery is becoming more popular, trends change, and it can be difficult to keep up.
Read: Woman with ‘world’s biggest cheeks’ is unrecognizable in pic taken six years ago
Worldwide Cause for Concern Regarding Plastic Surgery
In 2021, researchers at a clinic in Japan noted that 9 out of 10 teens wanted plastic surgery to address their insecurities which is an increase from the 7 out of 10 who wanted plastic surgery 2 years prior. This plastic surgery trend is having a worldwide effect. In the U.S. an estimated 220,000 cosmetic procedures are reported annually on patients, aged 13-19. In The U.K. lawmakers have made lip filler procedures illegal for anyone under the age of 18.
Experts warn that with the increasing popularity of social media platforms, younger generations are more susceptible to seeking out these procedures. Unfortunately, leaving them more susceptible to both physical and psychological damage to minors.
Thoughts from Professionals
Tomohiro Suzuki is a professor at Tokyo Future University. There he focuses on child psychology and body image. Suzuki notes that plastic surgery can have a positive impact on self-esteem, but also states some minors grow up to regret their plastic surgery choices. “Many also don’t know what their ideal “look” is yet, given they’re still growing, and some have repeatedly gone under the knife to achieve their perfect image.” Suzuki followed that up with, “Then you get trapped in a loop, unable to stop getting plastic surgery.” In 2020, estimates of more than %64 of all surgeries performed in Japan were eyelid surgery.
Read: ‘I died for a minute’: Celebrities Share Their Breast Implant and Plastic Surgery Horror Stories
Plastic Surgery Consent Laws
In Japan, anyone under 18 can get plastic surgery with parental consent. Because some parents abuse that law Dr.’s will have a one-on-one consult with minors prior to their procedure. In doing so, medical professionals are assured the minor wants to undergo the procedure. Toru Aso is a cosmetic surgeon in Tokyo and notes a growing number of minors visiting his clinic.
“Ten or so years ago, I had about one underaged client a month. Now, I have one minor visiting every day,” he told VICE World News. Some Japanese surgeons including Aso, have attributed the growth of popularity in plastic surgery, specifically double eyelid surgery, to the influence of Western, or Caucasian standards of beauty.
Documentation of an Emotional Journey
Micchi’s mom Rucchi encouraged her daughter to have plastic surgery stating, “if she’s going to do it, she should go all the way.” The debate came about in regard to what kind of double eyelids she wanted. Rucchi has a YouTube channel on which she’s shared conversations with Micchi in regard to plastic surgery. She even shared a video of the procedure in which Micchi sobbed and had a panic attack.
Someone shared the video on TikTok. It has since, received a great deal of backlash. A major risk of this procedure is the possibility of blindness or damage to the eye muscles. Users on social media platforms are wondering why Micchi was allowed to have the plastic surgery done when she was so clearly distraught.
At the end of the day parents just want their kids to be happy and confident. Parents, sometimes, unintentionally make mistakes to ensure that’s possible. Plastic surgery can be beneficial to those born with physical abnormalities. In some cases, like having breast cancer, plastic surgery can be lifesaving.
There is plenty of time in the future for these minors to make these life-altering choices later in life. The most important thing a parent can do is love and support their children. They can also work to teach their children to love themselves.
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