It's only fair to share…

It is remarkable how reliant we are these days on the internet. You really notice it when it goes down as it did last week here after a storm. I actually watched a bit of TV, which is something I rarely do at night these days.

One advantage of pay TV is there are lots of channels. Sadly this does not always mean there is something worth watching. But by surfing around you can always find something to look at especially when in a lazy mood.

And so it was that I came across Extreme Makeover. In this reality show people are selected (I assume they write in and apply) to go through a series of surgical procedures. The “extreme” part is that it is not just one but a raft of procedures.

In this episode one man (yes it was a bloke) underwent work on his eyelids, nose and chin. He had liposuction in various parts of the body. There was a hair transplant and porcelain teeth. Fillers and presumably botox were applied. Finally he got a new wardrobe.

The wardrobe was apt because in my opinion, when he had his “debut” in front of family and friends he looked like a store mannequin. He could barley move his face. The teeth were almost blinding in their intensity. Apparently he never felt so good and some twenty years had been taken off his life.

The second contestant, a woman, wanted the makeover before her twenty-year high school reunion. She was apparently the “ugly duckling” at high school and on the receiving end of teasing and probably bullying. She also had “the works” done although no hair transplant was required.

In both instances the people were housed at the makeover “mansion” for two to three months whilst the makeover took place. Both were “thrilled” with the results- at least now that it was new. Good luck to them. I may not agree with their choice but it is absolutely their right to make it.

The “makeover” is a classic human tale dating back to mythological times.

Surgeons today are “creating” new people in the way that Dr Frankenstein sought to do albeit with different cosmetic outcomes.

Humans always love a story and starting from the days of mythology there are certain stories, which have particular archetypes as main characters. There are   eight   human character archetypes. They are central to any story and are seen in fairy tales books and movies. This is why certain movies resonate with us because if the central character shares our archetype we identify more strongly with the character.

At present Hollywood is rediscovering fairy tales and there are a series of films out or in the making which tell or rework classic tales. Snow White and the Huntsman is the latest release in this genre. It is an “adult” version of the children’s fairy tale.

The review of the film in The West Australian by Mark Naglazas contained a fascinating insight when describing the story from the Queens perspective; “…the relationship between beauty and power rand its inevitable loss, a theme that speaks loudly to a world in which the magic wand is now the surgeons knife”.

The Queen wants to retain her beauty at all costs and does this in part by sucking the life out of and or killing younger more beautiful women such as Snow White. We all know how the story ends.

And so in 2012 the “contestants” in extreme makeover are seeking the magic wand of the surgeon’s knife. Mirror, mirror on the TV, who is the fairest of them all? The quest for the fountain of youth, which has been with us since the dawn of time now takes a surgical bent rather than coming in an elixir.

Here is the thing. How we look is a reflection of how we feel. No doubt those who seek the magic wand feel better after the wand has been waved. How long this lasts will vary. If your whole sense of self is tied up in your outer physical appearance and you seek to look 21 forever, at some stage you will come unstuck regardless of the amount of procedures done.

Self worth must come from within to be sustainable. Any superficial work will fade after a time but what radiates from within persists. It is not wrong to have cosmetic procedures done if that is your wish. However if the fundamental issue is how comfortable you are in your own skin, then this cannot be changed from without. It can only be changed from within.