In the article, “Fresh Faces,” the author, Sascha deGersdorff asserts that teens’ cosmetic surgery is on the rise and is creating a new social norm in society due to the constant pressure from the media. As cosmetic surgery is becoming more socially acceptable amongst all ages, it raises a lot of concern as to what extent will it affect the current social norms and ethics within society. Although Sascha deGersdorff points out the possible negative effects of cosmetic surgery, she failed to consider possible positive effects of cosmetic surgery on the self-esteem of teens. To effectively persuade and communicate her argument, Ryan appealed to her audience by using significant cases as well as the use pathos and tone.
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The author first introduces the issue by giving a positive case of a fifteen-year-old girl, Kristin, who had a rhinoplasty surgery performed on her to have a more symmetrical nose and the positive effects it had on her life at school. DeGersdorff then proceeds to give the significant cases and statistics that support her thesis that, the media are pressurizing teens to have cosmetic surgery and are the ones responsible for the increase in cosmetic surgeries in the U.S.
The author continues to prove her thesis based on the statistics showing that cosmetic surgeries among youth are on the rise and the ideals the media are giving teens about physical appearance. The author further explores these ideas by delving into the possibility of addiction to these surgical alterations and the possibility of flawed decisions in teens due to their age. The author then closes her argument by comparing Boston and Los Angeles in terms of their ideals on cosmetic surgery and on how the media continues to paint a positive picture on cosmetic surgery, as it is becoming more of a social norm and accepted amongst all ages, teens in particular.
Although Sascha deGersdorff used accurate information throughout the article, leading to significant information and a clear argument, her claims were vague leaving some terms indefinite. DeGersdorff claim originally seemed to relate directly to the effects of the shift in social norm of cosmetic surgeries on teens and their behaviors. The increase in the cases of the cosmetic surgery is of great importance in the society, thus her concerns are justifiable since the change of norms associated with cosmetic surgeries threatens the values of the society. The author’s use and interpretation of the claims become increasingly relevant and effective basing on her organization of the test, ideology, use of language, pathos, tone and ethos.
Sascha deGersdorff’s organization of the text also contributes to the effectiveness of her argument and point. By first introducing the topic with a use of a significant case, the author gains interest from the reader as well as a flow to her intended argument.
The author structures the article around the relevance of the issue, appealling to her audience through various examples and inquisitive analysis of each. Through this continuation of giving examples, the author gains relevance to her argument by increasing the validity of her argument to the readers. Additionally, the author’s organization of examples and comparison between statistics and reality appeals to the greater audience by creating a sense of relevance of the issue to the society.
The author’s ideology is made relevant throughout the article as she produces and discusses her claims. The author asserts and assumes that teens want “very large breasts in a tiny body” (deGersdorff). This is assumption is very biased because it fails to provide for other different views and possible counterpoints to this assumption. Through this biased lens, deGersdorff loses additional credibility in her argument since she did not address the possible counterarguments to her assertion, such as the possibility that cosmetic surgeries could increase the self-esteem of teens and increase their confidence and ability to succeed.
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The author’s use of language is also predominant in the way she communicates her claims for her argument and formulates the structure of the article. By using a simplistic, basic linguistic style throughout the article, the author makes her claims easy to understand to a broad intended audience of parents, scholars, and adults of all reading levels. Additionally, the author’s linguistic style is relevant to the argument she makes in that, by using simplistic language, the author appeals to the topic at hand where teens are conforming to the media’s ideals on cosmetic surgeries and, as a result, uses her topic’s theme to communicate the argument itself.
Above all, however, the author’s pathos and tone are made both clear and significant to her argument in the article. By comparing her examples to the general population, the author’s pathos appeals to the readers. Through her examples of teens having cosmetic surgeries and the effects of the media on their ideals, Ryan gains relevance with the reader’s emotions and powerfully influences their idea about her claim.
Most influential, however, is the author’s combination of this pathos with her tone of the article. By using a passionately concerned tone throughout the article, Ryan appeals to the readers by emotionally involving them with the issue all whilest increasing her own relevance in her argument. With the continuous comparison of examples with reality, Ryan produces a sense of urgency with the reader and portrays the acts teen cosmetic surgeries in a negative light due to the media.
Based on the author’s tone and pathos in the article, relevant, emotionally involving claims are made throughout the article. The use of relevant examples, Ryan effectively supports her claim that as media continues to put pressure on teens to get cosmetic surgeries, it is becoming more socially acceptable amongst all ages, and as a result, these cosmetic surgeries are both increasing and creating a new social norm.
The combination of these examples and the author’s linguistic style has convinced me to agree with Ryan’s claim that teens are unaware of this issue, and the prevalence of this issue is significant to the future of our society. The acceptance of the cosmetic surgery and the increase in the cosmetic surgeries in the U.S. projects the extent of the changes in the social norms. The changes in the social norms warrant a lot of concern due to their indefinite implications on the current values of the society.
However, Ryan assumption that teens want “very large breasts in a tiny body” (deGersdorff), had a narrow basis. The assumption fails to take into account for other possible counterpoints hence biasness in her assertion. This biasness and assumptions create a sense of discredit to deGersdorff, since her argument and assertion become incredible in attributing the rise of cosmetic surgeries in teens to the media. However, the biasness and the assumptions of deGersdorff strengthen her argument by supporting her claims with all possibilities and uses her tone to not only relate to the reader, but the topic itself.
The valid assertion of Ryan is that, teens that have “smaller, noninvasive procedures such as laser hair removal or microdermabrasion might become mentally predisposed to surgery.” Not only is this claim valid based on Ryan’s supporting information from sociologist Hesse-Biber but also scientifically proven by the board certified New York plastic surgeon Dr. Sydney Coleman saying that, “cosmetic surgery addiction can be caused by a medical condition called body dismorphic disorder (BDD)” (Pruitt). The rise of cosmetic surgery in the U.S is attributed to the medical condition of cosmetic surgery addiction associated with the noninvasive surgical procedures related to teens’ cosmetics surgeries.
The author presented her argument through excessive use of examples and statistics to support her thesis that the media influences the teens to have cosmetic surgeries, but her argument is incredible because she lacks professional expertise in medical arena, the area where she asserts her thesis. By listing these supporting examples without proper expansion of ideas, such as her negligence of the “60 percent of women who approve of cosmetic surgery” (deGersdorff), the author becomes redundant and, in effect, her argument becomes less valid and less justified.
Through both these redundancies and biased assumptions, deGersdorff loses a large portion of validity in her argument by neglecting possible importance of the media in pressurizing teens to get cosmetic surgeries. However, with the supporting examples and reliable sources, deGersdorff succeeds in her purpose and successfully communicates her argument to the reader.
DeGersdorff, Sascha. “Fresh Faces” Boston Magazine. 2005. Web.
Pruitt, Elana. “Cosmetic Surgery Addiction.” Plastic Surgery. N.p., n.d. Web.