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There are people in the world who smoke day after day and never seem to age a day, and by all accounts live long, productive lives. On the other hand, there are those that puff only a few cigarettes – or worse yet, don’t smoke at all but spend time around those that do – who end up hospitalized with cancer far sooner than they ever expected.

In the same sense, cosmetic surgery can be a mixed bag. There are those that get a nip here and a tuck there and generally live their lives like normal, while some take cosmetic surgery to its inevitable limits, fashioning themselves to look like horrifying real-life Barbies or creepy lion people. Some cases of cosmetic surgery even backfire, horribly disfiguring people for life. So, while the “Hey, it’s a free country” crowd might not approve, many countries around the world are introducing laws restricting cosmetic surgery for the greater public health good.

Germany, for instance, recently introduced a law restricting those under 18 from going under the knife. It seems to us this should have been a thing from the beginning, which made us wonder about the rest of the world’s attitudes about cosmetic surgery:

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the US, Europe and some parts of South America, cosmetic surgery is an almost universally accepted individual right. The practice has been around long enough that, according to many experts, it’s beginning to affect the public psyche – a phenomena closely linked with the long-running practice of digital manipulation of fashion models.

Such manipulation – and subsequently, cosmetic surgery – is so pervasive that people’s tastes seem to be changing. Ordinary folks demand nothing less than physical perfection in their ideal mates, for better or worse.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

In old Japan, it was considered extremely disrespectful towards one’s parents to alter the body in any way other than through natural means such as diet and exercise. That attitude persists today, and may provide an underlying explanation for why tattoos, excessive piercings, breast implants and other surgeries are generally frowned upon.

Regardless, cosmetic surgery is a growing trend in Japan, with so-called “puchi seikei” (or “petit surgery”) generally getting a pass in the public eye as being more or less okay. A lot of television stars, in fact, have fessed up to getting puchi seikei operations with little public fanfare.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

South Korea is largely considered the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. A 2011 World Health Organization census found that there were 13.4 cosmetic surgeries performed per 1,000 South Koreans, and apparently 20% of all women from ages 19 to 49 have gone under the knife. Many consider this to be due to a prevailing attitude that not having good looks is detrimental to one’s career and life aspirations.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Greece and Italy are also well-known cosmetic surgery hotspots. Greek patients received some type of augmentation 1.4 million times in 2011, placing it at number two in the world for frequency. Liposuction, especially for males, is apparently extremely prevalent. Italy, meanwhile, had 815,000 surgeries in the same time period. Even recent Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has unabashedly undergone cosmetic operations.

It’s unlikely cosmetic surgery is going to be placed in the same bracket of public health dangers as smoking and alcohol, yet it’s clear from global trends that it’s becoming an increasingly widespread – and increasingly dangerous – practice, both for the physical body and the psyche.

While some advocate it as a way to “level the playing field” for those born with less-than-stellar outside appearances, its potential for abuse is well-documented. So, how do you feel about plastic surgery? Do you think, like Germany, the globe should adopt restrictive controls on the practice, or do you believe anyone with a desire to look like an anime character should be allowed to pursue their dream without interference?

Source: Naver Matome
Feature Photo: Wikimedia Commons