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Body image and self-esteem have long been known to be associated with several salient issues for different groups of people, either among women, those who have excessive body weight, adolescents, and transgendered people, among others. The concept of body image affects people throughout their lives, with many of the affected groups showing that they are not satisfied with the physical appearance of their bodies. Merah et al. (129) define body image as a mental image of one’s own body. Further, this image is influenced by an individual’s perceptions and physical as well as emotional sensations coupled with physiological and emotional changes that one passes through as one grows and socializes. In this process of growth and socialization, different agents and institutions, including school, family, peers, and media, serve an important role in developing this image. Body image often changes depending on a person’s environment and experiences. On the above basis, this study seeks to research two groups of people, the first is the women who do plastic surgery to enhance their beauty, and the second group is transgender. In essence, the paper will discuss how women undergo plastic surgery and also how transgender enhance their body image so they can make themselves feel better. With the above regard, the paper will argue that body image seems to have become a critical issue among some women and transgender, and thus artificial beauty and gender identity need more medical focus to help these groups build the body image and self-esteem they desire.

Women and Body Image

Some women have always hated the appearance of their bodies and in response look for ways to change their appearance so they look the way they desire. With the above regard, aesthetic surgery has taken a significant position in medicine as a way in which women change how they look. Aesthetic surgery, mostly plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery, is work performed by clinical practitioners (Tambone et al. 517). Evidence-based medicine is considered one of the reliable scientific paradigms for practical perspectives and epistemology. Aesthetic surgery is also another concept that has found its roots in evidence-based medicine, where it provides the basis for both theoretical and practical levels to perform aesthetic surgery. This is the reason why aesthetic surgery is today considered part of medical science. In essence, the notion of beauty has recently taken a significant part in aesthetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery

Most of the women who perhaps do not have self-esteem due to the shape and appearance of their bodies would seek plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery so they can change their body shape into what they desire or rather what they would consider their ideal selves.

Many of the women today would be willing to have surgery to improve their appearance or to become more beautiful. Cosmetic surgery has allowed people to restore or enhance their physical appearance through medical and surgical techniques (Furnham et al. 47). Society’s focus on appearance has been increasing, and since plastic surgery has been widely accepted, women are easily tempted to go for surgery to change how they look. For instance, women are more eager to increase the size of their breasts or even to reduce body fat as they seek to be the ideal women desired by society. Many procedures are available today that can be used to alter people’s body parts as well as facial characteristics.

Many women, therefore, have taken plastic surgery as a method to get instant gratification, particularly among those who are dissatisfied with the way their bodies look before surgery. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery suggests that the most common types of surgical procedures include breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, and nose surgery. Women have long performed plastic surgery to change their perceived flaws or even fight the natural aging progression in an attempt to look younger. To a greater extent, technological advances that have resulted in less-invasive procedures have made both surgical and non-surgical procedures attractive to the public. One question that remains to be answered is whether plastic surgery used by women has addressed their concerns about body image.

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Impacts of cosmetic surgery

It is argued that plastic surgery, to a greater extent, has helped to fix poor body image and boost a person’s low self-esteem. Women who used to struggle with negative body image have used plastic and cosmetic surgery to change things they did not like about their bodies. Women have been pushed by a society saturated with images of the expectations of what female bodies should look like. Plastic surgery has, therefore, been used largely by women to change some of their body organs to meet societal expectations. Nonetheless, plastic surgery procedures or even cosmetic surgery cannot help a person heal from their emotional distress or pain; rather, they just help them fix their physical appearance.

Transgender and body image

Transgender people are another group that is recognized to be having big problems with their body image, In fact, Voort (2) suggests that transgender people perhaps have complicated body image, since it is significantly more severe for them since the feeling that they are not congruent to being either man or woman constantly haunts them. In essence, gender is considered a social construct not similar to sex, which is one’s biological anatomy. The transgendered people, therefore, have a sense that their identity does not correspond with their sex. Transgendered people, therefore, try different gender expressions. For instance, they can choose the kind of clothes they like to wear that makes them comfortable, perhaps so they can consistently present themselves as males or females according to societal norms. Body image, therefore, plays an important role in how this group would express their gender. Alberse et al. (390) suggest that transgender people mostly have a negative or uncomfortable relationship with their bodies as compared to non-transgender.

Medical interventions

Medical interventions also exist to help individuals with distress about their gender identity. These can comprise psychological interventions, surgical/physical, or even hormonal interventions. Transgendered people can be referred to transgendered clinics for therapy. This group of people suffers from psychological distress due to the negative body image and low self-esteem, and thus they can go for psychotherapy that focuses on self-confidence that could help them prevent social isolation (Alberse et al. 399). Additionally, transgender people can use hormones as part of their medication. Hormonal therapy plays a significant role in helping individuals to cope. For instance, hormones can be administered to shift the body more to the traditional feminine or masculine form. Testosterone can be administered to activate facial air, deepen voice, or even redistribute body fat. Using progesterone, on the other hand, can stimulate breast growth, soften skin, and reduce body air. Individuals can stop using these hormones once they have achieved certain desired goals (Office of Justice Programs). Hormonal therapy and psychotherapy are some of the methods used to deal with body image problems among transgendered people.


To this end, the concept of body image and self-esteem has been discussed. The women who go for plastic surgery and transgender have been discussed in detail, and they struggle with body image. Medical interventions such as plastic surgery, psychotherapy, and hormonal therapy can play a vital role in helping these groups of people build their self-esteem and the body image they desire.

Works Cited

    1. Alberse, Anne-Marie E., et al. ‘Self-perception of transgender clinic referred gender diverse children and adolescents.’ Clinical child psychology and psychiatry 24.2 (2019): 388-401.
    2. Furnham, Adrian, and James Levitas. ‘Factors that motivate people to undergo cosmetic surgery.’ Canadian Journal of Plastic Surgery 20.4 (2012): 47-50.
    3. Sarwer, David B., and Heather M. Polonsky. ‘Body image and body contouring procedures.’ Aesthetic Surgery Journal 36.9 (2016): 1039-1047.
    4. Souad, Merah, et al. ‘Cosmetic Surgery and Body Image in Adolescents: A Psycho-Sociological Analysis of the Causes and Effects.’ (2018).
    5. Tambone, Vittoradolfo, et al. ‘How you become who you are: a new concept of beauty for plastic surgery.’ Archives of plastic surgery 42.5 (2015): 517.
    6. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, “Statistics: Top 5 Procedures: Surgical and Nonsurgical” Accessed 25 June 2015
    7. Office of Justice Programs. Transgender-Specific Issues. June 2014. 21 Nov 2019.
    8. Voort, Martie van der. Queer Body Image. 30 Jan 2019. 21 Nov 2019.


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