Your Voice: Sexual harassment is never acceptable; the problem with plastic surgery (long letters)

  • People who sexually harass women and girls need to be held accountable, one student writes
  • Another teen talks about the downsides of cosmetic surgery and accepting one’s natural beauty
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Sexual harassment is far too common, and people who harass women and girls need to be held accountable. Photo: Shutterstock

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Sexual harassment is never acceptable

Nicole Ching Yuen-lam, St Paul’s Secondary School

Many women face various forms of sexual harassment every day – this can include sexist comments from peers to being photographed by strangers on the street without permission. You may think that this only happens to adults, but I can assure you that it also happens to teenagers and even children.

The first time I experienced sexual harassment, I was only 10! Although I expressed my discomfort to the person who was harassing me, he still did not stop until I removed myself from the situation. Things like this continue to happen because the adults present do not step in and hold these harassers accountable.

Why does sexual harassment happen in the first place? In many countries around the world, the harassment of women is often considered “normal” in the local culture.

Why you should speak up if you’re being harassed

Some people have it engraved in their minds that men are in a higher social position, and they have the power to harass or even assault women. They teach young girls that when a boy makes inappropriate comments or makes fun of them, it is just “boys being boys’’, or they tell the girls that they are “overthinking it”. It is unacceptable. As they grow up, both women and men are more likely to rationalise these behaviours.

Another reason that sexual harassment occurs is that the person who is harassing the victim lacks awareness that what they are doing is wrong. They may think that the inappropriate comments they make are compliments or casual flirting. They do not know that what they are doing actually makes other people feel uncomfortable.

The #MeToo movement aims to eliminate sexual assault and harassment and hold people accountable for their actions. Photo: Shutterstock

The reason for their lack of awareness may be due to the fact that they were taught that saying unnecessary or inappropriate comments was OK.

The key to solving this problem is education and holding those who sexually harass women accountable. Since they have learned that it is “OK” to give women unwanted harassment, it is up to those around them to help them “unlearn” this mindset and teach them to be respectful.

It is time we stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, especially since the victims could include your own mother, daughters or sisters.

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Your natural beauty cannot be replaced

Suri Chan Tin-wing, Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Chor Si College

Reality shows demonstrating makeovers have long been popular in our beauty-obsessed society. Many people resort to plastic surgery, also known as cosmetic surgery, to fit in with beauty trends.

Plastic surgery is a kind of cosmetic operation on our bodies. Breast lifts, facelifts, liposuction and Botox injections are the most common operations. When talking about plastic surgery, it is impossible not to mention Korea. Plastic surgery is one of Korea’s best-known industries, and it has been popularised in the last few years. Yet, is plastic surgery really such a good idea?

Plastic surgery can be addictive. One of the main motivations for people continuously undergoing plastic surgeries is the feeling they get after successful operations. Their desire for surgery arises from their satisfaction with how they look after surgery. They are willing to do as many surgeries as they can to find happiness.

Many people resort to plastic surgery to achieve popular beauty standards. Photo: Shutterstock

One of the most extreme cases of plastic surgery addiction is Cindy Jackson, who started having surgeries in 1988 and set a world record by undergoing 52 procedures.

Aside from dependence on plastic surgery, quite a large number of plastic surgery patients have suffered from surgical errors. Infections and enduring scars are frequent side effects of flawed surgeries.

Furthermore, losing your natural beauty is the consequence of plastic surgery. Consider a survey done by the Medical Accident Group. It found that 65 per cent of patients polled regretted their surgery and felt disappointed with the results. When the outcome of the operation is deeply saddening, even if you are willing to get more surgery to try to fix the problems, you are still never getting back to how you looked before.

The capitalism of beauty

Although the disadvantages of cosmetic surgery are evident, it can be beneficial in some cases. Take victims who suffer injuries from a car crash as an example. Plastic surgery is undeniably a huge help. Injuries to the face can be extremely traumatising, and cosmetic surgery helps these people restore their appearance and provide relief.

Beyoncé once said: “Your self-worth is determined by you. You do not have to depend on someone telling you who you are.” People nowadays have been woefully brainwashed to believe that women should have skinny bodies and flawless skin, and this is exacerbated by media and social networking platforms. Women who do not fit the societal standard will try to alter their faces to fit in, and this can hurt them physically and mentally.

We should not rely on the compliments of others to feel good about ourselves. No one should feel the pressure to be physically perfect. People should be confident in themselves and stay true to who they are. Never change yourself to fit social expectations because it is never worthwhile. Self-acceptance is all we need.

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