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Plastic surgery okay, say teens

The Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) yesterday published a recent survey suggesting that 50 percent of Taiwanese teenagers approve of having plastic surgery in their teenage years.

The CWLF hopes to successfully promote the New Aesthetic Movement for the two-thirds of Taiwanese teenagers who suffer from low self-esteem, CWLF representatives said yesterday to local media.

The “2014 body image and plastic surgery attitude survey,” conducted by the CWLF, showed that both genders are extremely self-conscious about their body image, although girls were shown to be more acutely prone to this attitude than boys, according to the survey, which consisted of 2,791 respondents.

According to the CWLF, the research also showed that one-third of teenagers adopt the concept that external beauty takes precedence over internal beauty and that external beauty is strongly related to one's social popularity.

Based on the research, Taiwanese teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 have their own standards of beauty. Girls think the top criterion of beauty is to be skinny, to have long legs, to be fair-skinned and have double eyelids. Boys' criterion of attractiveness, on the other hand, is to be muscular, tall and to have an attractive hairstyle.

Chen Li-ru (陳麗如), executive director of the CWLF, said the media proved to be the largest influence in affecting teenagers' body image, next to peer pressure and family members.

Even though 64 percent of teenagers' body mass index is normal or even underweight, the CWLF said 23.2 percent of them still diet excessively, including through starvation and medication.

The CWLF said that another surprising finding from the survey is that 50 percent of teenagers are willing to take the risk of undergoing plastic surgery, which is the third and riskiest method by which to improve ones image. One-quarter of the respondents even believe that the benefits of plastic surgery outweigh its risks.

Su Mao-ren (蘇茂仁), director of plastic surgery at Li Heping Hospital, stressed that it is unnecessary for teenagers to have plastic surgery because their bodies are still changing during puberty. According to Su, the law forbids children to undergo plastic surgery without the accompaniment and approval of an adult, and that nearly all patients are of at least college age.

The CWLF further emphasized the New Aesthetic Movement to promote natural beauty and self-confidence to teenagers. Officials of the CWLF said that adopting healthy lifestyles, rejecting distorted media influences and having enough self-confidence will improve teenagers' self-esteem.

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