by BERRY LIBERMAN
Vanity is a funny thing. It’s based on comparison and as we all should know by now, comparison is the death of happiness. I met a beautiful girl the other day whom I knew when I was a kid. She’s a sweet person, a mother of two beautiful children and has always been pretty – really pretty. We met at the market and I wanted to scream. She was unrecognisable. Since the last time I saw her she has had so much plastic surgery that she has erased any trace of herself – the girl she was is gone. A strange amalgam of beauty ideals has replaced her natural expressions. I wanted to cry, shake her and beg her. Looking at her face was looking at pain and self loathing – a culture that pushes us too far. The greatest tragedy is she has a daughter.
I also have a daughter and I also have scars – really, really bad ones. When I was pregnant around week 28 with my son, proudly flaunting my round belly on the beach, admiring its ever expanding size and the little kicks within, I noticed a weird red scratch on my bikini line. Turns out it was the beginning of some ripper stretch marks that hurtled their way up my belly and stopped somewhere around my rib cage. Nice. Really stylish.
So, I understand plastic surgery and the desire to ‘fix’ stuff. I breastfed two kids to 15 months each. More plastic surgery desire there. ‘Nough said! Some days I look in the mirror and I’m just a little pissed off… would anyone notice if I took three weeks off work? Went in for a little nip and tuck?! Then I am forced to think of my kids and not just my vanity. How will they view their partners or themselves if I present an image of perfection? Is that helpful to them? Is perfection helpful to anyone? What will my son expect of the women in his life – that they are an impossible idea of woman? How much therapy will that cost? Does my desire to be ‘beautiful’ override my responsibility to be real with my kids?