Beauty standards infiltrate nearly every piece of media, and while they affect everyone, they hit women and girls the hardest. The expectation that you'll resemble an airbrushed photo of someone whose job is to eat specific food, exercise a certain amount, and style themselves into oblivion is enough to make anyone feel bad about themselves. The emotional fallout from these standards can be heartbreaking.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for telling his sister about his partner's plastic surgery. He wrote:
My gf and I moved to Europe a few years ago, and she ended up getting a lot of plastic surgery while we were out there that I begged her not to get. She got a blepharoplasty, a nose job, fillers, a chin surgery, and I don’t even know what else. I hate to say it, but it decreased her attractiveness.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s still beautiful, but not nearly as gorgeous as what she use to look like. It also just makes me sad that she removed all the features that I loved on her face. It’s also sad that people think these are features they need to remove. She looks hallowed out and tired. But she doesn’t want to admit she got plastic surgery.
We’re back home from Europe, and people started commenting on her looks at dinner. One of her friends just straight out asked if she got something done and she said no. She said it was just aging, of course, she was going to look different, she’s 27, etc. I was shocked. I couldn’t even believe she could play that card when the results are so dramatic.
It’s so obvious that she was lying, but no one called her out on it. My sister has been staying at my parents house because I’m here and she has been weirdly obsessed with her looks since that dinner. She is only 24, and she is truly a baby. 24 seems so young now, or at least, she makes it seem very young.
She admitted to me that seeing my gf brought up feelings of anxiety towards aging, she said she didn’t know people could change so much and it was stressing her out. She started calling me and freaking out about a line she found on her forehead, which was hardly noticeable at all. She isn’t a person that is super fixated on her looks, normally at least, so it surprised me.
But she was buying a lot of anti-aging skincare and applying it multiple times a day. I told her she was fine, all she had to do was moisturize and wear sunscreen, I mean, I look the same as I did at 24 but she wasn’t buying it and it was obvious why. It hurt me so much to see her like that. She kept putting retinol on her face and would ask me daily if I see “lines” going away when there were no lines in the first place.
After a while of her spiraling one day I finally broke down and said, “Dude, you’re freaking out about aging because of my gf. Chill out. She got plastic surgery, you don’t just randomly start to have totally different features after you hit 25. You are gonna look exactly how you look now at 27, relax.” She is way too young to be hyperfixating on her looks and worrying about aging.
She has an obsessive personality sometimes, and gets fixated on things (probably the anxiety disorder), so just telling her that made her drop the subject. Thank god.
I told her weeks ago, but last week my gf asked if I told anyone about her plastic surgery. I admitted I did tell my sister because I didn’t want to lie about it and she is very mad at me. Was I wrong to tell her? My gf didn’t outright say not to tell people, but it was obvious she wanted me to lie for her and expected me to do that.
NTA. When people deny having work done (especially if it’s noticeable) people don’t tend to believe them anyway. I don’t think your GF is fooling anyone. Your sister’s well being and state of mind are more important.
NTA, at all. Your sister's mental health and self-esteem was directly being affected by your girlfriend's plastic surgery.
I think all of y’all are being super harsh on the gf in the comments. She didn’t like how she looked and changed it, she wasn’t confident enough to admit everything about it, her boyfriend clearly looks down on her for it - I doubt she thinks she’s fooling anyone, but the mystery must provide a safe space for her image. You see this with older people hiding their age too.
It’s not great lying but knowing it’s upsetting to her and telling someone else about her deep seated insecurities without letting her know is AH behavior imho. I would have at the very least given your gf a heads up and let her clarify the conditions of this info. If she heard it from other sources it must have been gossiped about and that’s certainly less than easy. YTA in my book.
NTA. If you're going to have surgery just admit it. People aren't stupid. A girl at my work had time off for a deviated septum. When she came back to work her nose was a completely different shape. She still says it was just a deviated septum.
ESH, it sounds like your girlfriend needs therapy. Her actions and her reaction both scream that something is wrong and she needs professional help. That’s a lot of work to get done and a huge reaction to have, clearly she is not confident in these choices. Try to seek therapy for her if possible. You did still tell something private that wasn’t your business.
And your sister's concerns could have been due to other factors as well and not just your girlfriend, so revealing that information could have been unnecessarily hurtful to her when she clearly isn’t ready to admit it. I agree with another commenter who said everyone here needs therapy.
Edit: Thank you all for your responses. At the end of the day, my sister's well-being and mental health matters to me more than anything or anyone. She is naive, maybe more than you would expect from a 24-year-old and I feel I need to protect her. When I told her my gf lied and had plastic surgery she said, “but I didn’t think she would lie to me about that.” She looks up to my gf and me a lot.
My sister and my girlfriend are both in therapy, and have been more years actually, but that doesn’t really stop insecurities.
Edit: As for an update on our relationship, I do need to talk to her about the future. I’ve realized I’ve lost a lot of respect for her, not because of the plastic surgery and changing her appearance, I had accepted that, but she was fine with lying to my sister and watching her spiral into obsession.
I kept bringing it up to her that my sister was struggling and she would deflect and say a lot of young women care about their looks and she’ll get over it. It really rubbed me the wrong way. My sister is my best friend, and my only real family. I’d like to think a partner would see how important she is to me and prioritize her mental well-being. But yes, we will talk about it. Thank you all for your responses and input.
Hopefully, OP and his GF and sister are able to talk this all through and find a space of mutual understanding.