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Skincare company Dove has launched a campaign called the Self-Esteem Project, that aims to make all types of people, but young women in particular, feel confident and secure in the way that they look. When launching the campaign, the company stated that “there is an epidemic of girls chasing social media ‘likes’ to feel attractive.” To combat that phenomenon, Dove has introduced the #NoLikesNeeded hashtag. The idea behind the hashtag is that women should know the second they post a picture of themselves that they are beautiful, rather than waiting for social media “likes” to pour in as validation of that fact. This campaign is an incredibly important symbol in promoting self-esteem in young women, and highlights the negative outcomes that arise when people let others to be the sole judge of their appearance. Whether or not individuals elect a cosmetic procedure with one of their plastic surgeons, they should always make decisions based on their own opinion, rather than the opinions of others.

In the realm of beauty and self-esteem, the discussion around plastic surgery in particular is distinct in that there are often pressures from both sides in regards to whether or not to get a procedure. While it is true that, in some cases, patients will turn to plastic surgery because they lack confidence about the appearance of a certain body part, many of our patients report being pressured against a procedure. Because of horror stories about botched procedures and celebrity plastic surgeries that many believe have gone too far, some people stigmatize those who choose plastic surgery as somehow lesser for their choice. Whatever a person’s individual decision about plastic surgery, their own opinion should be the one and only driving force.

While it can certainly be enjoyable to see the “likes” rack up on a particularly flattering selfie, people should never interpret those responses, or a lack of responses, as society’s confirmation of a person’s appearance or, more important, their overall self-worth. As long as a person is happy with their own decisions and appearances, that is all that matters.

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