Cambridge-sponsored Feminist declares that women who get plastic surgery are really just being manipulated by that nebulous entity called “social norms.”
It is a widely held belief that freedom of choice is a sign of a just and equal society. But Dr Clare Chambers of the Faculty of Philosophy argues that sometimes choice is not as free as it may seem.
If a woman chooses to have cosmetic surgery because she wants to feel ‘normal’ in a society that has strong views about how women should look, is her choice really a free one?
Chambers would say no. In her book Sex, Culture and Justice: The Limits of Choice she argues that where so-called free choice results from social pressure, and causes harm to the individual, it should be open to the state to limit that choice.
When campaigning group UK Feminista called for a ban on the advertising of cosmetic surgery Chambers’ stance was a perfect fit. She was invited to be a signatory to the campaign’s launch, and an excerpt from her book became the campaign’s first online ‘think piece’.
As a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, her contribution to a debate on cosmetic surgery and concepts of what is ‘normal’ was not only heard by over 3 million listeners but also included in the programme’s online podcast.
Oh, academic feminism is here to save “society” (by which they mean MEN) from its “strong views” about how women should look, which means that people, men and women alike, favor physically fit, attractive women, over sloppy, unattractive women. How dare people have preferences that inconvenience ugly women!
The real problem is the Feminist war on liberty itself, including the liberty to pay money to make yourself better looking and the Feminists using force to impose their own preferences (no cosmetic surgery for you!) on everyone else.
All societies have social norms – unspoken rules that we live by if we want to fit in. In most Western countries, it is normal for men to wear trousers and not skirts. While some men might see this as a constraint, most will have not even thought about it, and would be surprised or embarrassed if skirt-wearing was suggested. So the idea of ‘normal’ is deeply ingrained, and is part of a natural human desire to blend into our social context.
But these norms can become more sinister if they lead a person to do something that is harmful to their health in order to conform. In many countries women are judged very strongly on their appearance, and there are many unwritten rules about how a woman should look – she should not have grey hair, or be round, or have breasts that are too small or too saggy.
Wearing make-up or dressing in a certain style are some of the ways in which women conform to these beauty norms. But these choices are not harmful, whereas invasive surgery – with all the potential complications it can bring – clearly is.
Women try to become more attractive because there is a benefit to being beautiful. Doors open to beautiful women. Opportunities present themselves. Men are willing to finance a beautiful woman’s existence. Life in general is easier for a beautiful woman than for an ugly one. Women spend money on make-up, shaping undergarments, and yes, even surgery, because they perceive the benefits of being beautiful as outweighing the cost. I know it’s hard for Feminists to grasp, what with the Great Satan known as “The Patriarchy”(tm) constantly controlling every decision women make, but women are occasionally capable of rationally weighing costs versus benefits almost as well as a man would.
Feminists don’t care how much men hazard themselves in order to create the opportunities for themselves that beautiful women are simply given, because they only see the outcome, not the work it took to get it. The cry and piss and wail over a woman upgrading from B cups to C cups, but have no sympathy for the man risking his health in the mine-shaft, the guy who busts his back lifting crates, or the man in the lumber mill because, men’s lives are just disposable resources in the Feminist utopia.
Feminists truly do believe that female existence should be completely risk-free and that men are responsible for making that happen.
The power of social pressure
Chambers’ book challenges liberal and multicultural theories that see choice as the mark of a just society, and cultural norms as something to be protected at all costs. The argument goes that if someone does something by choice, even if it means they are worse off than other people, it’s not a problem.
Chambers points out that people make choices within the framework of social rules and pressures. She argues that this framework affects what options are open to an individual, and can even affect their desires.
In a society where women are not allowed to have certain jobs, their options are clearly limited. But even in a more open society, the desire to fit in with social norms can affect what we want to do. If a woman decides she wants breast implants, Chambers argues she is not making that decision in a vacuum. Social norms are influencing both her options and her preferences, and leading her to choose something which can have serious implications for her health.
The real humor here is that the writer believes that there are jobs in American/Western European nations that only men are allowed by law to have and women are barred from. And yet, while whining that women are limited in one respect, argues that women should be limited in another respect (fake breasts) because “society/social norms made her do it.”
With that said, I repeat my last claim: Feminists believe that female existence should be completely risk-free. They believe that women should always win, no matter which choice they make.