According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spent $12.4 billion on plastic surgery in 2007, up 9% from 2006.
The number of procedures increased as well. Nearly 12 million were performed in 2007. That's up 7% from 2006 and up 59% from 2000.
The most popular surgical procedure was breast augmentation with 348,000 performed in 2007, up 6% from 2006. This is a 97% increase from 2000.
"The report tells me Americans are devoted to looking and feeling their best," said Richard A. D'Amico, MD, ASPS president.
It tells me something considerably different.
And the popularity of breast implants is growing among teens. According to ABoardCertifiedPlasticSurgeonResource.com:
The number of women under the age of 18 who underwent teen breast implants surgery more than tripled between 1992 and 2002. In 2002 alone 3,095 girls underwent a teen breast implants procedure, compared to 3,841 girls in 2003 who received teen breast implants. This is 24 percent increase in the number of girls who seek teen breast implants.
There are several perspectives from which to respond to this trend. One of them is cultural.
We live in a society that is obsessed with sex and with appearance.
But this is not unique to North America.
According to a report by Reuters, girls in Venezuela are receiving breast implants for their 15th birthdays.
In Europe, ABC News reports that girls can now play an online game where they try to turn their avatar into "the most famous, beautiful, sought-after bimbo across the globe." They send their "bimbo" to tanning salons and give them "boob jobs." The UK version has more than 200,000 players after only two months. The French version, started last year, already has 1.2 million users.
Evans said that before now, he'd never considered the possible negative impact that game could have on young teens, and told ABCNews.com that he and his business partner are "looking into" the critics' claims.
Players use "Bimbo Money" to buy diet pills, a gym membership or an apartment. They can acquire the currency by playing games such as Sudoku or by sending a $3 text message.
And this pressure is not only experienced by women. Men are bombarded with spam telling them that their worth is determined by the size of their genitals.
But the real issue here is spiritual.
We are desperately searching for meaning and significance.
We tell ourselves that we would be happy if only…
- We earned more money
- We looked better
- We had the latest fashions
- We could "hook up" with some hot person
- We lived in a bigger house
- We were more popular
- We reduced our golf handicap
- We could improve our Technorati ranking
- We could win the lottery
- We could look younger
- We could lose weight
But, of course, none of these can supply what's lacking.
This is not a new thing. The prophet Isaiah addressed this a few thousand years ago:
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live (Is 55:1-3).
Most Christians read passages like this and think it is talking about getting signed up for heaven.
The sad truth is that most of us Christians do not experience significantly more joy, peace or contentment in our lives than those who do not claim to trust in God. This is because we are chasing after the same things as everyone else.
We really don't believe that God can be trusted to provide for our happiness.
We know that we have to depend upon God's grace. And we know that we have to trust him for the big stuff. But we aren't "foolish" enough to eliminate our other options.
Of course, we would never deny God or turn our backs on him. He's an "ever present help in time of trouble." He makes an excellent safety net.
But we still spend our "money on what is not bread." And we invest our "labor on what does not satisfy." We just try not to let it get out of control.
All things in moderation—and that includes our trust in God.
We've dismissed Jesus' words as impractical:
Do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Mt 6:31-33).
We live by the principle that God helps those who help themselves—and toss him a prayer every once in a while.
- What would happen if we took Jesus seriously?
- What would happen if we really trusted God and not just talked about it and sang about it?
- What would happen if we ever finally understood what grace is?
Let's set our sights a little higher. What if we started operating our churches as if we could really trust God?
Nah. That'll never work.
"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"