“It’s Just So Unlike You”

[Trigger warning for discussion of weight, body size, plastic surgery.]

My husband told me this the other night when I brought up something I’ve been contemplating over the past few weeks. 

I am considering getting lipo. Not heavy duty, put you to sleep, run the risk of dying lipo, but this new-fangled thing called Smartlipo Triplex. One of my doctors went through the training to do the procedure last year, and I kept seeing the pamphlets lying around when I went to visit him. The last time I was in, I asked him about it. He said it is minor, as far as surgeries go. You are awake but numb, they make a few incisions, go in and zap shit up with a laser (technical medical terms, of course), then suck it out and shape it with a tube thing. It’s out-patient, and he said if it’s done on a Thursday or Friday, you can be back to work by Monday. Easy-squeezy. But my husband is right; considering this seems out of character for me.

I am not, shall we say, lacking in the positive self- image department. Some might say I have more than is warranted; I tell them to fuck off. I am awesome. I am also generally happy with my body, warts and all (literally, I have HPV, so, you know, sometimes, warts. Whatever, it’s not the end of the world). I like my smile lines and crows’ feet because they show that I have done quite a bit of laughing in my life. I weigh more and am a larger size than I have ever been in my life, but I am also healthier and stronger, so I’ve made my peace with the new numbers. Plus, having a regular work-out routine has given me an ass that will not QUIT, so if that caused me to go up a pant size, so fucking be it. It is phenomenal. Remember earlier about the high self-image? Not kidding. I love me. So why the hell do I want lipo if I’m so happy with myself? It’s simple, totally ridiculous, and utterly self-absorbed. I want to get rid of my love handles. Even when I was sickly thin, 40 lbs. less than I am now, I still had love handles. My little brother, who is 6’4″, 185 lbs., eats a very strict diet, and works out all the time, still has love handles. Thanks, grandpa, for the fun genetics!

I have been thinking quite a bit about why I want to do this. Is it because I feel pressure to fit into society’s expectations of what my body should look like? Am I body shaming others if I do this, as if it somehow says there is something wrong with having love handles? Honestly, I don’t think so. I truly don’t think there is anything wrong with having them, I just don’t want mine. The reality is this– I really like clothes, and there are many things that don’t fit right on my body with love handles. I like to wear ridiculous things. This is what I’m wearing today, for goodness sake–

Selfie of Kym in black and white stripe pants and a black shirt in the bathroom at her office
Sorry for the quality, I suck at selfies.

I manage a law firm, and I am dressed like I run a carnival. As one of my coworkers pointed out, I look like fucking Beetlejuice. And I LOVE IT. I love these pants. They make me happy, and whether I look like a convict, referee, or circus employee, I just don’t care. I am rocking these pants. They have also given me the chance to say ,”Just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean I don’t look adorable,” more than once today, and who doesn’t love that? My body type is akin to a ruler; straight up and down with no real curves to speak of (except my fantastic ass).  I would like to have more of a waist. That’s it. When I wear a fitted dress, I would like to not have to strap myself into some suffocating shapeware to suck these bad boys in.

I know that we should love our bodies as they are, and I fully agree with that. No person should be shamed for their size, their weight, or the shape of their body. That kind of bias and bigotry is bullshit, pure and simple. On the other hand, is plastic surgery, if one is doing it solely for themselves, inherently anti that sentiment? I’m not trying to be obtuse or inflammatory; I am really asking for other opinions on this. It seems silly to me to blow this into something bigger than it is, to use the whole “feminism is about supporting women choosing their own choice!” argument, as if we all have to support every single choice someone makes because feminism says so. I’m also not fishing for compliments about how I “don’t need liposuction!!” which I have gotten from people I have mentioned my plans to. I know I don’t need lipo, but I do want it. Like most plastic surgery, it is elective. I’m not doing it to lose weight or to go down a size, but even if I was, is that wrong? Is it shaming? For any of you out there who have had or have contemplated having elective plastic surgery– did you wrestle with this as a feminist issue? As what it might say to others about body positivity? Am I over-thinking this way too much?

17 thoughts on ““It’s Just So Unlike You””

  1. “No person should be shamed for their size, their weight, or the shape of their body. That kind of bias and bigotry is bullshit, pure and simple. On the other hand, is plastic surgery, if one is doing it solely for themselves, inherently anti that sentiment?”

    I should have thought that IF and only IF “one is doing it solely for themselves” it IS inherently anti “that sentiment” because that’s when it reflects your own feeling about yourself rather than someone else’s feeling that moves him/her to lean on you (the one way or the other) and i.e. an external pressure you are under.

    Several comments above have, in effect, said something like this:
    “Everyone is entitled to make their own choices so if you are ashamed of your own person – go ahead, babe, BE ashamed of it. Don’t let yourself get told!”

    Not that they have put it so candidly (bluntly?), of course.

    Sorry.

  2. I figure as long as you go into it knowing all the pros and cons and are doing it for yourself instead of because you feel pressured to for whatever reason, then go for it. Sometimes it boils down to what YOU think and what YOU want, feminism and society be damned.

    Also, those pants are AMAZING. I want them in my size!

  3. I too rock the forever love handle-y look no matter what my weight is. I’m all tall and willowy with these ridiculous little side chunks. If the possibility of fat sprouting up in my stomach/arms/where ever later down the line didn’t freak me out so much, I’d totally lipo those bad boys!

    I had breast reconstruction(for a genetic thing, not cancer) and implants put in a few years ago and I do not regret it in the least.

    Do what ya feel. It isn’t anyone else’s business.

  4. If your waist is bothering you now, you might want to consider that in mid-life that’s where you will carry more of your weight (look at Chicos, which targets women in their late 40s and 50s, and you’ll see that almost every single thing they sell is designed to clothe someone who doesn’t have a defined waist).

    1. Remy, I adore your badassery, as always. I’m going to start saving and see how I feel when I have the money together to do it, which I think will give me enough time to truly have the lock on the decision. Pennies and nickels add up fast, right?

  5. Rather than an opinion, let me just give you an example.
    One of the strongest, smartest, most feminist and progressive women I know (some evidence: she once called into NPR’s On Point to go on an extensive rant about Todd Akin), bought herself a facelift for her 70th birthday. This lady is super hot (she’s up there with Helen Mirren), and when I go out to a bar with her and my other beautiful 20-something colleagues, she gets the most male attention (of all ages, even strapping lads in their 20s). What I’m saying is she’s really freaking gorgeous and sexy – and she knows it.
    Her husband (12 years her junior, of course) insisted that she didn’t need a facelift, but her response was always, “I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this for me. I want it, I have the money, I’m healthy, so I’m going to do it.” And she did. She was very excited about it and told everyone. After the procedure (she still looks absolutely lovely), she happily showed everyone the little scars behind her ears.
    She did it because she wanted it, because it made her happy, and she didn’t give a shit about anyone reading into it as anti-feminist. She’s her own person, and she couldn’t care less about people who judge her for doing what brings her happiness.

    1. Thank you for this! My grandma is currently contemplating a face lift, and her attitude is similar to your friends. I want it, I can afford, end of story. I love tough broads. My husband actually jokingly said “yeah, no, I forbid it” which is kind of hilarious since he knows when people tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more. I’m ornery that way.

  6. Thoughts:

    1) would you have ever considered this if you hadn’t seen the leaflets in your doctor’s office? Your doctor is trying to sell you something. It’s probably a pure profit-making enterprise for him; of course he’s going to tell you it’s fine and easy. Get a 2nd and 3rd opinion, and if possible direct testimonials from people who’ve had it done, as well as compare it to other types of lipo for ease of recovery and how satisfied they are 1,2,5,10 years later. How many procedures has he done in that year? Would you be better off spending your money with a more experienced surgeon?

    2) If you’re heavier than you’ve been before, and you think your weight is likely to fluctuate again (down or up), then lipo is AFAIK a bad plan, because the surgeon can’t see the ‘extra’ fat as clearly. You might end up with a shape you don’t want, and you can’t put the fat cells back once they’re gone.

    3) what @bronwynm23 said. Once the fat cells are gone from a certain area, extra energy that can be stored as fat has to go somewhere else (similar to how if you Botox your armpits or palms of your hands, your back can sweat more).

    1. I left out some important info in my post- I have long contemplated lipo on my love handles, but am too chicken to go under for something elective, especially after what happened to Kanye West’s mom. When I asked my doctor about it, he looked at me quizzically and said “why do you want it, you don’t need it” but then humored me by giving me the information. He had the procedure done in the same area, so the recovery time described was his recovery time.

      I am heavier than I have ever been because I finally eat well and exercise regularly, so this is the size my body wants to be, I think. The whole “muscle weighs more than fat” stuff, I think. I had a lot of chronic pain that caused me to get very, very thin a few years ago, sickly thin, so while gaining the weight was initially a challenge, I am feeling good about where I’m at.

      I am, however, totally going to do a TON more research, and my doctor said he would get permission from clients to see if they would be okay being references for me if I decide to do it, and I am going to save money for at least a year before moving forward. I really appreciate you giving me important things to think about before moving forward. As always, good looking out, QoB!

  7. I had an anecdotal story about my mom, but wanted to back it up with “evidence,” so found this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/weekinreview/01kolata.html?ref=health&_r=0

    My mom had lipo on her thighs about 10 years ago. She’s since gained the inches back, however, she now gains weight in her abdomen area where she used to not. She’s not happy about this new “figure” she now has and it was an unexpected side effect for her.

    Give this whatever weight you want, I just wanted to share so you don’t get the same surprise if you go through with it.

    1. This is something I that has definitely given me pause in the past, and why I plan on waiting at least a year before moving forward so I can monitor others experiences with the procedure. Thanks for the link, I am going to be doing a lot more research before making any final decisions.

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