Black women are supposed to love their bodies, right? Big or small, we are supposed to be the one group of women who understands that we’re beautiful no matter what.
Do you really think that Black women don’t spend just as much time on their appearance as any other woman? Sure, some days we don’t want to sweat because it’ll ruin our hair, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t into toning, slimming, lifting, plucking, and all the rest of it.
And I’ll be the first woman to say: yes, I am Black, I am beautiful, I participate in the Baltimore Bethel AME church music ministry, I have seen women of all sizes express their glory, and I also had breast augmentation surgery. I thought long and hard before determining this was the best choice for me, and I am extremely satisfied with my procedure.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering a cosmetic surgery of your own.
1. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons
There is no one “right reason” to get cosmetic surgery. Some women choose to get a tummy tuck after multiple pregnancies, others get face lifts to smooth out a few wrinkles. I got my breast augmentation because I had small breasts throughout my entire adolescence and early adulthood, and after being flat-chested for a good fifteen years, I decided I wanted to see what life was like with breasts.
There are, however, a few reasons NOT to get surgery. Take what is colloquially called “ethnic rhinoplasty.” This, of course, means restructuring your nose so it looks smaller and slimmer (that is to say, “whiter”). Yes, even Beyoncé had a bit of trimming around her nose, but that doesn’t make it right. If you are considering a surgery to reduce the “ethnicity” of your appearance, you’re probably thinking about surgery for the wrong reasons.
2. Choose a good surgeon
I did a lot of research before I chose my surgeon, and talked to several surgeons before I got my surgery done. Maryland breast augmentation performed by Dr. Adam Basner was a good choice for me; your choice depends on your specific needs and surgery goals.
3. Understand what will and won’t happen after surgery
Plastic surgery rarely changes your life. Yes, I can walk into a department store now and find shirts that fit properly, and yes, I get a bit more attention from men, but my breast augmentation didn’t fundamentally change the way I was treated by the professional or social world. (That aside: would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Life with breasts makes me feel like I have a complete body.)
For some people, a cosmetic surgery is a way to erase a scar or disfigurement that has plagued them their entire life. In these cases, people report that it is a relief to walk down the street without people staring, but that their overall confidence and happiness remains about the same. You’re still the same person before and after surgery, even though your appearance changes.
Should you get cosmetic surgery? I look at it this way: if you’re trying to fix a problem with your body that you can’t fix on your own, like too-small or too-large breasts, a sagging postpartum stomach, or a series of scars, then by all means, take advantage of the benefits surgery has to offer. If you’re hoping to change who you are, surgery is not the answer. Instead, you have to do the work of addressing your behaviors yourself and making positive changes for the future.
Have you ever considered cosmetic surgery? Did you go through with it? Were you happy with the results? Let’s start the conversation — the more people who tell stories like mine, the more all of us will learn.