By Laura Bashraheel
JEDDAH – There has been a surge in the demand for cosmetic surgery from young women of the Kingdom. Perfection, or at least a stab at it, as purveyed by the media, has never seemed more attainable. However, some driven by the need to attract a desirable husband, have resorted to cosmetic surgery to boost their confidence and help them find what they are looking for.
Hanan Ghalib, 26, had rhinoplasty two years ago. She was persuaded by the fact that all her young cousins had their noses done too. She sees nothing wrong with becoming more beautiful. “Rhinoplasty and lips augmentation are the two most popular procedures amongst the women in my family and circle of friends. Lips augmentation is non-surgical so even my teenage cousins do it, sometimes without their parents’ consent,” she added.
Maha, 27, said that she also had rhinoplasty and lips augmentation before getting married last year. “I wasn’t satisfied with my nose so I had the surgery before my wedding.” Maha said that such procedures have become common for young women of her age. “Me and two other friends go together to get fillers in our lips every now and then,” she said.
The lure of cosmetic surgery is so prevalent that even side effects aren’t enough to put the young girls from taking the plunge. Dalia Rashid, a 24-year-old student, said that her lips swelled after she was injected with fillers twice within a short period of time. “I don’t mind doing it in the future again, the side-effect was only once,” Dalia added that she had a rhinoplasty a few years ago to help feel more confident, “Being beautiful is important. When I look beautiful I feel better about myself which is reflected in my personality.”
Nisreen Bukhary, a family consultant at Guidelines Center, believes that low self-esteem is the main reason behind the escalating rise in cosmetic surgery amongst today’s youth.
“Girls, who want to find a husband, focus on changing their looks. Not having self-esteem leads them to believe that cosmetic surgery is some sort of magic bullet,” she said. Also, Bukhary believes that mothers should play a greater role in enhancing their daughters’ natural confidence from a young age.
“Rather than encouraging them to go for cosmetic surgery, the mother should reinforce and grow her daughter’s independence and self-awareness. Girls should focus more on their personality; beauty won’t last forever but strength of character will,” she said.
Bukhary urged young women to focus on themselves in a positive way and become successful in life. “If you develop yourself mentally you will lead a fulfilling life with an intellectually-engaging man. Just focusing on the superficiality of beauty will lead to a discontented existence with a hollow man who might even lose interest as your beauty wanes with age,” she added.
Dr. Mamdooh Ashy, consultant plastic surgeon at a private clinic in Jeddah, said that cosmetic surgery for women between the age of 18 and 24 is especially prevalent. “Girls who have cosmetic surgery at this young age are usually about to get married,” he said adding it has become a routine process before marriage.
Ashy also believes having cosmetic surgeries such as rhinoplasty or breast enhancement, which are the two most popular procedures, is a reflection of societal norms.
“Around the world, beauty has become the number one priority. Unfortunately, the focus on looks rather than character is merely a reflection of how our society is now defined by pop culture.”