Fillers and Feminism

Are aesthetic treatments against feminist beliefs? This is a complex subject and one that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

This week I felt challenged to think about this because of something a patient said to me.

My patient decided to approach me for a cosmetic treatment but described that she had been internally wrestling with her values regarding this. She felt strongly that it shouldn’t matter how we look but then admitted appearance did matter to her. She told me she hated that being the case. What a struggle!

As parents we think about the messages we give to our children and young adults. Young women must be confident and love their bodies without trying to make unneeded changes that could result in complications.

Is this belief a conflict for me -in my mid 40s- having aesthetic injections myself and offering these treatments as a doctor? How does this sit with my values as a woman, feminist and mother?

I do not think aesthetic treatments should be about striving to fit a beauty ideal but more about improving confidence. If you would remove unwanted hair or buy a new lipstick why not remove an annoying mole or reduce a wrinkled area that is bothering you? All as long as it is done as safely as possible by a qualified health professional.

It’s empowering to have control over things that bother us and to feel that we look good as we age. It can give women a feeling of a boost during menopause and it is good to take pride in our appearance at all ages. Aesthetic treatments are strictly for adults only and the “Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act” just recently passed this year will ban under 18’s from being able to receive cosmetic Botox or fillers.

In reality the results of the treatments are twofold – the actual look and how that makes us feel – I see my patients glowing and skipping out of treatments with me feeling confident and happy. I can see the difference and so can they – they do not look ‘done’ but naturally fresher and smoother. They have done this only for themselves and it puts a spring in their step.

And of course aesthetic treatments are not just for women – men have them too!