In of others. Gilbert says, “Now, the word beauty

In the story, “The Birthmark”, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author portrays the effects of the “perfect woman”. The fact that Aylmer went to all extremes to fix a little flaw that his wife Georgiana had, shows how much people view perfection as such a high priority in society. This connects to today’s world because many people have the mindset of being perfect, are spending huge amounts of money on cosmetic surgeries, and there are many disorders that result from trying to achieve perfection. In society, people have a set image of what an ideal woman should look like. Women are putting so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way based on what they see. Society has created an unrealistic perception of beauty (Gilbert). Women are constantly trying to compare their bodies to the bodies of others. Gilbert says, “Now, the word beauty stands in for a woman who has Kylie Jenner’s lips, Cara Delevingne’s body, Zooey Deschanel’s eyes, and Angelina Jolie’s face—a crazily unrealistic idea” (Gilbert). Whether its a model or a movie star on TV or even a random girl walking down a street, women are creating an impossible target for them to achieve. In reality, the bodies of the models are photoshopped and airbrushed. The way the magazines and TV shows are editing models and/or movie stars is creating an unhealthy and unrealistic objective. In the story, “The Birthmark” it says, “No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection” (Hawthorne). Aylmer became obsessed with the fact that Georiana has a small red birthmark in the shape of a hand on her face which makes her imperfect to him. Aylmer then created a potion to remove the defect upon Georgina’s cheek because it was intolerable for him. Today, individuals have this idea of trying to be flawless and it has led to an obsession that needs to be stopped. In America, people are wasting tons of money on cosmetic surgeries. Americans spent more than 13.5 billion dollars on cosmetic procedures in a single year. The total reflects a 1.5-billion-dollar increase from 2014 (“Americans”). Young women are having surgeries to fix themselves such as nose jobs, lip injections, breast or butt implants and botox. All of these surgeries can be very harmful for the body and the mind because people can become obsessive with surgeries and are constantly wasting their money to try to improve their looks. The article states, “Youth is a commodity, and people are investing in themselves to maintain a younger, healthier appearance, Grotting explains” (“ASAPS”). Grotting, one of the Presidents of the ASAPS says that he makes his business off of people having unrealistic beauty expectations. Very often after these surgeries people are left disappointed and sometimes even more unhappy than the way they started. It is not rare that surgeries cause permanent disfigurement with devastating results. In the “Birthmark” it says, “Fear not, dearest! exclaimed he. Do not shrink from me! Believe me, Georgiana, I even rejoice in this single imperfection, since it will be such a rapture to remove it” (Hawthorne). Just like Aylmer tried to erase something very natural from Georgiana’s face so too women nowadays are trying to erase any flaw found on their body.Body Dysmorphic Disorder, anorexia, bulimia, and extreme dieting are all disorders that were formed from self disapproval. In some cases these disorders were triggered by even the smallest mention of a flaw. As Kronemeyer mentions, “Externally motivated patients, on the other hand, want to change their appearance to achieve some secondary change, like please a romantic partner or to advance professionally. In some cases, other people may have advised the person that they need the procedure” (Kronemeyer). This proves that the standard of beauty has come to such an extent that not only does a person want to change themselves, but those around them want to change them too. For example, women are told to get plastic surgery to meet the standards of their spouses. In “The Birthmark” it is stated, “Georgiana… has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?” (Hawthorne). Georgiana would do anything for love and this shows that even the smallest mention of a little birthmark can make someone doubt themselves and try to change just for someone else. In today’s society, this happens very often where people try to live up to the standards that others make for them, when instead they should be focusing on what they want for themselves and what their self goals are. There are many ways that doctors can assume when someone has a severe case of BDD. Some ways are, if a patient complains about a flaw that is minimally or not visible to the doctor or if people make a bizarre requests, such as desiring to look identical to a celebrity (Kronemeyer). These diseases can turn into a huge problem and doctors have to very aware of the situation of these people before doing any procedures on them. In “The Birthmark” it says, “As the last crimson tint of the birthmark–that sole token of human imperfection–faded from her cheek, the parting breath of the now perfect woman passed into the atmosphere, and her soul, lingering a moment near her husband, took its heavenward flight” (Hawthorne). Aylmer finally reached his goal by getting rid of the imperfection on his wife’s cheek. Ironically, the outcome was the exact opposite of what he intended. Aylmer tried to make his wife perfect when in the end he caused his wife’s death.Nowadays, people’s minds are consumed with the fact that they have to impress other people. Whether through cosmetic surgeries, extreme dieting, or eating disorders people should start focusing on the good things that they have and learn how to be happy with what their given. Being a kind person and contributing to the world should be the focus of individuals rather than focusing on beauty and the outer self.

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