There’s an article in the NYTimes this week about how an increasing number of teenagers are having plastic surgery. The article says that in 2006 teenagers made up 70% of all of the people who had this particular type of surgery. Astoundingly, it’s to “fix” a problem that is generally outgrown in the later phases of adolescence.
Here’s what the surgery is for: gynecomastia.
Anyone? Anyone? Gynecomastia is the name for enlarged male breasts. In 2006, 14,000 adolescent boys ages 13 – 19 underwent plastic surgery to reduce their breast size.
This is outrageous! Why is no one throwing a total fit over this? The world would be screaming bloody murder if teenage girls were getting plastic surgery to make their body look more like a magazine cover, why aren’t they doing it about teenage boys? And what makes it even worse is that this is generally a condition that 1) is generally outgrown in a few years and 2) is generally associated with obesity and will resolve itself when excess weight is lost. So, just to be clear, what we’re talking about here is teenage boys having surgery to resolve a developmental and weight issue. Teenage girls would never be allowed to do such a thing, and nor should boys.
The article includes a number of young men who had the surgery as teenagers talking about how painful their life was before the surgery because of extreme teasing by their peers. I don’t want to diminish their pain. That’s horrible. But a surgical response is just completely unreasonable and damaging in the long run.