Eye of the Beholder: Society Under the Knife and Needle

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?

From fairytales to prepubescent beauty pageants, we are a society obsessed with looks and today's youth are becoming more and more fixated on celebrity and life in the fab lane.

As tabloids are continually scoring actresses on "who wore it best," their covers are constantly heralding the newest celeb diets. At the same time, television has lowered its standards to make the plastic surgery phenomenon prime-time programming's biggest new star, with reality shows like "Dr. 90210" and "Extreme Makeover." Even the scripted drama "Nip/Tuck" is sweeping into the American subconscious via TV.

So where are we going from here? How do we ever content ourselves with just being Plain Jane? Will any of us ever be happy with our God-given looks? Or must we all have Jennifer Garner's nose, Angelina Jolie's or Scarlett Johansson's lips, Halle Berry's or Beyonce's bootylicious bodies? (By the way, these were the lades with the most requested and sought after body parts according to a recent poll of plastic surgeons.) Will we never be happy again with dear old Dad's nose or Nana's eyes? Isn't it part of our uniqueness, our own personal style, isn't beauty just part of the genetic rolling of the dice? If we all want to look the same, what becomes special for us?

Why do we hold celebs in such high esteem when obviously their self-esteem is waning? Why else would so many of them constantly choose to put themselves in such dangerous situations?

Whether it be drugs, the law, or under a surgeon's knife, they obviously cannot believe their own hype about who really is the fairest of them all. Why would someone who is as super successful and publicly recognizable as Ashley Simpson choose to so blatantly alter her looks at such a young age?

Several years ago the sultry songstress Toni Braxton had to redo her boob job after it imploded on a plane. In 2001, poor Meg Ryan looked as if she had transplanted her private parts onto her face with her overplumped collagen lips.

We expect this desperate-for-attention behavior from tragically and emotionally flawed porn stars or Courtney Love, which is one and the same, but here are iconoclastic stars with Oscars to validate their worth. They live in such fear of the glare of the paparazzi and the vicious swipes of the weekly tabloids. They are subjecting themselves to even greater ridicule by going through painful and extremely costly procedures just to freeze the hands of Father Time, and their foreheads. Luckily, I have one of the genetic jackpots, and for a sun worshiper, my lines are just beginning to show.

But didn't I earn those lines? I hope as they deepen, so will my spirit and self-worth, so that I can happily live with my past and the looks I've got to go with it. The truth is, men are falling more and more into the pressure of ageism. They say 50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 30, etc.

Well, maybe we just can't tell people's ages anymore because of the overuse of restylin botox blepharoplastry (cosmetic eyelid surgery) and facelifts. I nearly fell off my couch when an unrecognizable and surgically enhanced Kenny Rogers showed up on "American Idol."

The '70s sex symbol Burt Reynolds was another star racing against time to look younger and instead just looked as if he had no mirror or friend to tell him the truth about his overaggressive plastic surgery.

Why oh why would Al Pacino, who played Scarface, want to become one at the hands of plastic surgery? Mickey Rourke and Carrot Top are starting to make Dolly Parton's and Pamela Anderson's parts that were made in the U.S.A. look natural. Now that is not a good sign!

It doesn't look like Hollywood's plastic surgery rush will slow down any time soon.

Hotels like the Four Seasons and the Intercontinental offer recovery suites with secret hidden entrances to avoid the paparazzi,a car service to and from the surgeons office, and private nurses to administer ice packs, healthy fruit shakes, and TLC. But it all comes at a very high price! Perhaps with the scandal surrounding the plastic surgery debauchery of poor Kanye West's mom, it will be a loud and resounding wake-up call to Hollywood. And all its overzealous followers.

All that glitters is not gold though. There is nothing wrong with bettering yourself. I have always been a fan of making a dollar out of 15 cents, but less is best. Don't overdo it; a little change can go a long way. And do your homework; do not rely on the so-called experts.

Kanye West's mom's doctor was a regular expert on the talk show circuit. He even had Oprah's folks fooled.

If a surgeon says no, feel free to get a second opinion, but listen to each of them clearly and make a well thought out decision because it is better to be alive and average than a gorgeous corpse.