The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

The Millennium Phoenix

Modest Proposal to Unrealistic Beauty Standards

We are all familiar with the cliché plot of a teenage girl getting bullied for not fitting conventional beauty standards, only for her to have a complete makeover and come out as the fairest of them all. However, she can’t uncover her stunning beauty without going through the process of drowning in depression, self-loathing, anxiety, and crying tears of pain. Every woman today must have felt insecure and unconfident about her looks at least once in her life. Unfortunately, with the spread of consumerism and the rise of social media, self-consciousness about one’s appearance is being sold more rapidly than ever by celebrities and influencers who have failed the female population. Instead of promoting self-acceptance, celebrities and influencers would post heavily edited photos and undergo numerous plastic surgery procedures until a perfect, youthful, Barbie-like face was achieved. As a result, these overly perfect images presented by celebrities and influencers diminish women’s self-confidence and distort their minds into thinking they are lesser because they don’t look like celebrities or that they don’t fit into the narrow confines of the beauty standard.

The problem of unrealistic and toxic beauty standards has spiraled out of control as technology and communication advance. Today, especially after the pandemic, millions of women flock to plastic surgeons for alterations to their faces like shoppers rushing to stores on Black Friday to grab the object of their desires. Of course, good deals don’t wait for latecomers, and not everyone can afford to uncover their better selves. As of now, approximately 2.4% of all Americans experience body dysmorphic disorder (DDB), and a stunning 80% of those with DDB had suicidal tendencies and 24% to 28% had attempted suicide. My friends, the thought of young girls, like flowers wilting before they bloom, obsessing over their faces and eventually resorting to suicide to escape her imperfections would bring tears to even the most cold-hearted being. 

After many nights of thoughtful considerations, I have finally conjured a flawless proposal that will not only solve the mental health crisis due to appearances in millions and contribute to a more equitable distribution of resources but also make America the most prosperous country on Earth.

I humbly propose that we pass a new law that mandates plastic surgery procedures for all children at the age of five, right before they start kindergarten, and implement additional procedures when the children show any changes in their facial features as they age. The plan is as follows: the government will issue an AI-generated face, which will be sent to all government-affiliated plastic surgery centers, and every child will get individually customized procedures to look exactly like the government-issued face. This face will be changed every ten years to prevent the boredom of having the same face for one’s entire life. Additionally, to meet the demand for different hair colors every ten years, all children will sell their hair cells to the government for future usage. A center should be established every 10 miles in every state to ensure accessibility for all Americans. To prevent plastic surgeons from occupying the majority of wealth, all plastic surgeons will be required to pay a 50% tax on their total income. Of course, as we all know, plastic surgeries are expensive, and not all Americans can afford them. Therefore, the government will establish a special loan for those with low income with a modest 4.5% interest compounded annually. There will also be financial aid programs that will help pay part of the expenses for those who qualify. This way, all Americans can enjoy their new and better lives free of bullying and discrimination due to looks.

The benefits to this proposal are bountiful and unparalleled. For starters, every American will gain confidence in themselves and be more united as individuals won’t be able to judge each other based on looks anymore, achieving nationwide collaboration. With that, the mental health crisis in America can also be alleviated. In 2000-2006, with the initial rise of social media, the number of individuals with reported eating disorders increased by 18%, and with more prominent social media today, this number will only increase, along with other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. About 280 million dollars were spent on mental health services in 2020 in the US, and that spending rose by 57% from 2020 to 2022. At least 1⁄4 of that spending can be saved as all Americans are emancipated from beauty related mental health issues, and the fundings can be redirected to areas such as education, the building of public infrastructure, poverty relief, and investing in more advanced plastic surgery technologies to further improve Americans’ quality of life.

Additionally, the development of more advanced plastic surgery technologies, which will provide safer and better results, will create an unprecedented surge in demand for plastic surgeons and scientists, creating millions of jobs. As of 2023, there are over 9540 plastic surgeons in the US, and approximately 8.5 billion dollars were generated from plastic surgeries in 2022 alone. Both of those numbers will more than double after my plan is instituted, garnering billions of dollars annually. The profit will be even higher when accounting for the taxes paid by plastic surgeons.

The economic benefit of my proposal is not only limited to plastic surgery and the scientific field but will instead also trickle down to other fields such as education, construction, and manufacturing. With the surge in demand for plastic surgeons and scientists, there will be more students in universities for doctoral degrees in science, which takes four years, and tuition in the US ranges from $8000 to $55000; therefore, colleges can generate billions of dollars from tuition each year. Materials and construction companies will also be needed for the erection of centers, bringing more money into the market.

Opponents of my thoughtful proposal may question the safety of these plastic surgery procedures, especially with the frequency that are performed on individuals. To those opponents, I would ask them to maturely and rationally consider the question: why would the US government put its own citizens’ health in danger and not prioritize the good of its citizens? Of course the federal government is going to put the citizens first and take extra measures to secure the safety of the Americans undergoing these plastic surgery procedures and ensure the centers performing the procedures only use the highest quality materials and the latest technology. There will be no damage. 

You may also cry, “But this is forced assimilation; individuals will lose their uniqueness that makes them who they are!” As we all know from history, humans and society are very prone to ostracizing those that are too different—those that do not fit into their narrow perceptions of what humans should be like. Those ostracized individuals may have done nothing wrong except for looking too different, but they had to suffer the pain of being mocked and inevitably driven to the edge of society. Does this not sound appalling to you? If this is the cost of being unique, then I personally would prefer being average, and I’m sure the majority of the population would agree with me. Therefore, my plan is simply shielding the misfits from their tragic fate of being cast out by society forever, and I’m sure they would happily participate in this plan of their own accord. 

I am confident that my proposal will provide great benefits to both individual Americans and to America itself. It would provide a massive upgrade to Americans’ quality of life, both physically and mentally, foster closer, more intimate bonds with Americans, and generate unprecedented amounts of wealth. But alas, not every country has the intelligence to implement a plan like this. My soon-to-be home, South Korea, clearly does not have this foresight, and I, unfortunately, will not be able to reap the benefits of this wonderful proposal.

Work Cited:

 Phillips, Katharine  A. “Suicidality in Body Dysmorphic Disorder.” Primary Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2007, 

Gray, Brianna. “Beauty Standards in the Digital Universe: How Does It Affect Your Mental Health?” Peer Mental Health, 25 May 2022, 

 “Reducing the Economic Burden of Unmet Mental Health Needs.” The White House, The United States Government, 17 June 2022,,from%20the%20U.S.%20Medicaid%20program. 

 Cantor, Johnathan H. “Spending on Mental Health Services Has Risen by More … – Rand Corporation.” RAND Corporation , 2023, 

 “Plastic Surgeon Demographics and Statistics [2024]: Number of Plastic Surgeons in the US.” Plastic Surgeon Demographics and Statistics [2024]: Number Of Plastic Surgeons In The US, 21 July 2023, 

 Yang, Jenny. “Total Cosmetic Procedures Revenue U.S. by Type 2022.” Statista, 2023,,generated%20from%20surgical%20cosmetic%20procedures. 

 “Cost to Study in USA – Living Cost & Tuition Fees.” Https://Www.Studies-Overseas.Com/Blogs/Cost-to-Study-in-Usa, 2023, 



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