Social Question

silverfly's avatar

Is the dedication to putting on makeup equivalent to getting breast implants?

Asked by silverfly (4045points) July 24th, 2010

Many people seem to frown upon the obsession with breast implants these days. There seem to be so many problems with procedures and so many stigmas against doing it. But despite all the consequences, thousands of women (and we won’t get into men) continue to do it.

Now, I don’t know the percentage of women that put on makeup on a daily basis, but I would imagine it to be extremely high, especially in the western world. This obsession is obviously regarded as more acceptable among the masses and most people would agree that it is more acceptable than a procedure such as breast implants.

But is it? Women seem to get breast implants because they feel better about themselves. They feel more attractive, more confident, and more like a woman. Isn’t the same true for women who use makeup? Sure, there is an actual procedure involved in getting implants, but isn’t the amount of dedication something to be recognized? Women may not have to go through a surgical procedure to put on makeup, but the time involved and the daily ritual is, in my opinion, just as obsessive.

So what do you think: Is it okay to get breast implants simply for a boost in confidence? Is it okay to put on makeup for the same reason? Should surgical operations still be acceptable? Should we frown upon the use of makeup in a similar fashion? Is makeup more acceptable because it’s an older tradition than implants? Will society come to accept surgical operations as normal?

Thanks for reading! :)

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25 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Makeup is easy to put on, can be done at home by anyone, and is relatively harmless to the physical being. Makeup can also be altered at any time if you don’t like the results. It’s also really cheap.

Implants are a surgical procedure that require the patient to undergo anesthesia (always dangerous), must be preformed by a surgeon, and are permanent. If they don’t come out well, you have to save up to go under the knife again to have them fixed. They introduce foreign objects into the body which can be harmful. Implants can burst, as well as interfere with the effectiveness of mammograms. Implants can cost quite a bit of money.

Most people report not being any happier after having cosmetic surgery, and many report being even more unhappy.

MaryW's avatar

Welll no I do not have to undergo anesthetic and be cut open. to have make up and also I do not have to possibly suffer leakage, breakage, or tolerance problems. Also with make up I can vary “the look” and it is never permanent.
Sorry, the wanting it for beauty, or the obsession for beauty is not an equalizer.

Blackberry's avatar

One of the greatest features that my girlfriend possesses: She looks great with makeup off as well. I hit the jackpot. Lol…....

Yes, I understand your notion; it is quite obsessive. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

Seek's avatar

Eyeliner doesn’t cost thousands of dollars every application, and when I get sick of it, a little soapy water makes it like it never happened.

For your main question – I think if one is of a mind set where they feel major surgery is the only way they can be happy in their bodies, they will likely never be satisfied, no matter how many procedures they undergo.

jca's avatar

i wear make up every day, it takes me about 3 to 4 minutes to put it on, and it’s harmless. i don’t spend much on it, maybe 50 dollars a year. i don’t consider it in any way similar to the risk and cost of surgery.

alive's avatar

i think the above answers have kind of missed the big picture. the daily ritual is just as obsessive as a one time surgical alteration.

i think that any woman who puts make-up on on a daily basis (sometimes more than once a day) will feel like that is an over-the-top statement, and may it is a little over the top, but the obsession is the point. what is the difference to think you look better one way than the way you actually look…. it is a very “twilight zone- eye of the beholder scenario. you can have a million plastic surgeries to look like every one else… but really that is only an ideal beauty from on perspective.

a friend of mine used to have log blonde hair and one day she shaved it all off. one of her main points about the difference between living as an “ideal beauty” and living as a dyke-y looking girl is that she did not have to go through the daily rituals of washing, blow drying brushing etc.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@alive I think the danger of surgery is the big point. Endangering your life for beauty is soooooo different than spending 3 minutes slapping on a little color on your face every morning. Makeup can show you care about your appearance, right along with brushing your teeth and hair and wearing clothes that aren’t wrinkled. Plastic surgery isn’t the same as hygiene.

jca's avatar

and to add on to what @papayalily said, it’s not just endangering your life, it’s endangering your health (in that there may be long term consequences) and endangering your looks (in that it may not turn out right). make up has none of those risks. it seems like most or all of the women so far agree.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jca Indeed. No woman has ever missed a breast cancer diagnosis because she used some foundation to smooth out those sunspots.

YARNLADY's avatar

Personally, I don’t wear make up, but I believe putting on and taking off make up isn’t that extreme, but I would suspect that getting permanent make-up tattoos is similar.

silverfly's avatar

@papayalily No, @alive got it right. It is the obsession that is the point. Everyone knows the risks involved with implants. I’m referring to the need for beautification. Many women may report not feeling any better, but I’m guessing many feel a lot better too.

It’s easy to say that makeup is easier to put on and wash off and all that stuff, but it’s the reason we put it on that is so similar to implants. And this is the issue I wanted to address. I’m not one to support implants, but I do want to point out that both have similar reasoning for and end result.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’m more curious if women do either/or because they want to or because someone encourages them to do so.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@silverfly Except that an obsession is simply an idea or feeling taken to an unhealthy extreme.

le_inferno's avatar

@silverfly You’re presenting a very weak case, my friend. The analogy is just absurd. Yes, both makeup and cosmetic surgery are used to enhance one’s appearance/boost confidence, but that’s like saying eating ice cream each night is equivalent to snorting cocaine because they both make someone happy. The actions are performed for similar reasons, but one is mundane and harmless while one is quite hazardous and costly. The two are just on completely different levels.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@le_inferno I like that analogy. Ice cream and cocaine.

Seek's avatar

@le_inferno hit the nail on the head.

Other things I’m obsessed with and do on a regular basis:

Watching Star Trek.
Taking hot baths.
Reading novels.
Applying peel-off facial masks. (I love the peely feeling!)
Combing my son’s curly hair.

None of those things have “death” as a possible side effect.

Facade's avatar

I don’t think so, but it may be close in some cases. I used to wear a full face every day, and I hated my face without makeup. Wouldn’t even look in the mirror. I think that was unhealthy, and so is having breast implants because you hate the way your breasts look.

JLeslie's avatar

It’s all true. From the woman’s point of view who does not worry about surgical side affects and cares about her appearance, to her putting on make-up and getting cosmetic surgery is almost equal I believe. I know several women who just do cosmetic surgery like it is not a big deal. I was raised by a mother who avoids surgery at all costs, and I am the same; afraid of possible complications. But, of course the reality is things can go wrong in surgey, and it is basically permanent, except of course you can get a another surgery to alter things again, but you can not really go back to the old you.

zophu's avatar

I respect women (and men) who personalize their makeup. Not to the point where they’re like a peacock, but it shows that they’re altering themselves for expression and not for false-compensation/conformation/social-status/etc.. It’s like people who buy expensive cars V.S. people who paint their cars uniquely.

Not that covering up something less-than-desirable or exaggerating something good to distract from the less-than-desirable is a horrible thing to do; it’s just when it gets obsessive, like in your example.

Breast implants and other body modifications can be done for good reasons. But, I’d bet they’re generally not; and they’re probably almost never done for purely good reasons except in damage repair or something.

The psychology behind obsessive making up and the obsessive breast implantation can be the same, I guess.

Self-expression is the whole point. It’s just, people usually don’t want to be themselves and it becomes difficult to know exactly what to do to change—or what they want to change to. I think the key is to see limits instead of models. A normal healthy appearance isn’t a model to which one must conform, it is just a set of semi-flexible limits that one should keep tabs on. Rules can be bent, even broken, so there’s no natural reason for the levels of vanity we see in society.

silverfly's avatar

@le_inferno I see where you’re coming from and I know what I’m saying sounds way off. My inspiration for the question comes from an encounter I had with someone I know. She was explaining how several of her friends all had Botox and breast implants. She was embarrassed because she had tried Botox as well. But in her defense, she said that these women she knew all felt so much better doing these things and that in their eyes, it wasn’t very different from the day to day makeup use. So, it was from this perspective that I asked the question. I don’t agree with implants or any cosmetic surgery, but I think it’s good to take a step back and ask questions about beautification in general. Maybe I should have asked more questions about the importance and history of makeup.

Seek's avatar


Cosmetics have a long and fascinating history. You can go back to some of the first written works known to man and find references to smudging the eyes with coal, or clothing that is meant to draw the eye to certain areas of the body.

Anywhere you go throughout history, there have been extreme measures taken to ensure beauty. Everyone’s heard of foot-binding in China, I’m sure. Today, we think of frail-footed young ladies having to be carried by servants and are shocked that anyone would think that attractive.

I’m willing to bet in 500 years, our descendants are going to be thinking “They stuck grapefruits made of SILICONE under their pelvic muscles? Why would anyone do something so absurd and harmful?”

And they’ll probably still have eyeliner.

zophu's avatar

People accuse me of wearing eyeliner because my eyelashes are so luscious and . . . manly. so, I’m guessing a dark outline around the eyes is a pretty natural thing. Eventually, we’ll probably be genetically re-engineering ourselves and not have to worry at all about implants and makeup.

YARNLADY's avatar

Wearing make up is not very common in my family. Most of my Uncles were ministers, and they would call a woman who wore make up a tart. I believe many of my cousins do now that they are grown up and have left the church.

tranquilsea's avatar

I can see the correlation as outlined by @silverfly . BUT everyone draws their own line in the sand. Mine, lately, has been with eyeliner and mascara. My sister’s was breast implants that she had to have redone three times and then finally taken out they caused so many problems.

So long as guys are attracted to pretty and big boobed women there will be women who will plaster on makeup and go so far as to go under the knife.

Trillian's avatar

Um…. Make up washes off.

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