By Ester Kane, MSW


In this article, I want to cover a topic that I’ve wanted to speak to for a long time- plastic surgery. I must confess that this is an area I gave little attention to in the past as I have been in my ‘prime’ for a good number of years being young with good skin and a curvaceous body. However, I have just turned 38 and with the increase of years have also come some things I hate to admit have shocked me to the core. These include:

*Weight gain that appears to take place just by LOOKING at fattening foods (I swear it’s true!)

*Gray hairs- at first manageable- all I had to do was use my trusty eyebrow tweezers and problem solved. Now, however, I risk going bald if I were to continue this practise.

*Breasts that have started to mimic the shape of pancakes and have definitely taken a downward turn (you know what I mean)

*Lines around my eyes and the skin surrounding my eyes staying in one place once I apply make-up for longer than I would like. It’s like watching a snail slowly migrate back into its shell once the cover-up is blended in.

*And horror of horrors-chin hairs!  No, I’m not kidding…and not the blond wispy things no one notices-these little buggers are thick and black and have the amazing ability to grow roughly half an inch overnight!

Add to this the countless stories I hear from clients and girlfriends about “getting work done” on their bodies. These range from groups of women, whom upon the dawn of their 50th birthday, get a face-lift, Botox injections in the face to reduce wrinkles, breast implants, to tummy tucks. I sit there trying to wipe the look of horror off of my face as I do my best to impart an attitude of empowerment and acceptance regardless of what choices women make in their lives.

I was at my local library recently and glanced along the shelves and found a new book out by Joan Rivers, the Queen of plastic surgery, which is a “guidebook” to getting plastic surgery. It was titled, “Men are Stupid and they Like Big Boobs”. She is 75 years old and has had so much plastic surgery that she looks somewhat cartoon-like and anything but natural. She doesn’t even look like a younger version of herself- she looks strange and almost doll-like and scarily unreal. Anyway, the book was co-written with some top cosmetic surgeons and boasts all of the “wonderful” advances available to women who want to change the way they look through plastic surgery. I particularly loved the part where she’s talking about one procedure and under “risks” she casually writes, “death”. Then without missing a beat, she’s onto describing the next “wonderful” procedure!

I don’t know about you, but I think DEATH is a pretty big risk!  It reminds me of the author who died a few years ago from liposuction- yikes. I don’t want to come off as being all fanatical and judgmental, because I truly believe that women are in charge of their bodies and it’s not my place to tell someone what to do with her body.

However, I do believe that the current obsession we have with looking younger (one writer calls the times we are living in, “age deceleration”- i.e., “forty is the new thirty” and so on) is a recent and ultimately, dangerous focus. Never before in human history have people been so terrified of getting old. It’s also true that we have never had such a long lifespan so perhaps this is a contributing factor as well.

My grandparents never considered plastic surgery and my 86-year-old grandmother is completely perplexed with this newfound obsession younger generations have with looking young for as long as they possibly can. I think that there are many factors at play here; most notably, the fear of death.

I know I’m terrified of dying and getting old. But I’m working through it. I want to be courageous enough to face getting older head-on without going under the knife or injecting poisonous substances in my body to appear younger. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to more gray hair, my body shape changing, and those lovely hairs on my chinny-chin-chin, but I’m going to do my best to ‘go natural’ and grow old gracefully. I am more than my body and so are you. Let’s all remember that.

Esther Kane, MSW, Registered Clinical Counsellor, is the author the book and audio program, “It’s Not About the Food: A  Woman’s Guide To Making Peace with Food and Our Bodies” ( ) and “Dump That Chump”( ), and “What Your Mama Can’t or Won’t Teach You”(  Sign up for her free monthly e-zine, Women’s Community Counsellor, to uplift and inspire women at: .

This article is excerpted from the Fall 2009 Issue of WE Magazine for Women. To read the current issue (PDF) visit: or (Turning Page)