Changing Our Bodies

How we feel about the way we look is very important.

You could argue that it’s much more important than what other people think. But sometimes other people’s opinions do affect how we feel.

What if I made fun of your big ears all the time and everyone on the telly and on the internet only had little ones – you might start wondering if yours were different?

Things like that can chip away at your self-confidence and might make you want to change the way you look. It’s not quite as simple as that though…

Surgeons are brilliantly clever and can certainly change the way people look in all sorts of ways, but operations can be risky- and they can hurt!

But just because you want an operation, does that mean a surgeon has to do it for you? Doctors aren’t slaves, after all.

They even have a special rule that they must not do harm. They might think cutting your ears off would harm your body more than it would help your feelings.

They’d still probably want to have a bit of a chat to make sure you knew all the pros and cons, especially about how you might feel afterwards.

Just because you think smaller ears or a bigger nose or an extra leg might make you happier there’s no guarantee so maybe getting rid of your sad feelings needs a different solution. Plus, fashions can change and the images we see around us change too.

With all the amazing science and medical experts out there, changing the way we look is often possible but just because we can doesn’t always mean we should.

There’s a lot to thing about and it shows that if we don’t think carefully about things then there’s a chance we can get things turning out in a way we don’t want.

It takes a bit of thought to really work out how we can best use the science and technology at our disposal to make sure it’s fair and in the best interests of everyone.

Click here for more bioethical dilemmas!


Nuffield CouncilBene and Mal’s Bioethics series with support from Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Click here to find out more!