There is extreme pressure on any individuals who make a living off of their physical appearance. Perhaps there is not more pressure on the physical appearance of someone than there is on bodybuilders. Because of that, some bodybuilders have resorted to cosmetic surgery to enhance their physical appearance. Numerous questions arise from that fact, like if it is unbalancing the playing field of competitive bodybuilding, and if it is even ethical.
One could argue that cosmetic surgery is technically a form of enhancing a physical body part. For bodybuilders, cosmetic surgeries tend to lie in the arena of calf and breast implants. The surgeries do not necessarily just apply to male bodybuilders, but also female ones as well. Bodybuilders opt for cosmetic surgeries to garner definition in areas that they can’t quite get to look the way they want.
The question of whether or not those cosmetic surgeries are ethical, should be considered from multiple angles. The question only exists because of bodybuilding competitions, because if nothing was on the line then it would not be a major concern. No one questions whether it’s ethical or not for people in everyday life to enhance body parts. In that scenario it is simply a matter of preference in whether or not you like what someone has done to their body, but in bodybuilding competitions the winners receive monetary benefits and praise, which raises the question of ethics.
Cosmetic surgery could be considered a form of cheating to pay for your physical appearance rather than earning it through hard work in the gym. At that point, the bodybuilder with the most money can simply be considered the winner. Cosmetic enhancement could be considered unethical in that case, since not everyone is on an equal financial playing field. The other thing to consider is what the true definition of bodybuilding is.
If you simply consider bodybuilding to be the exploration of the genetic capabilities of muscle mass growth, then cosmetic surgery is unethical, because of the word “genetic.” Cosmetic surgery, however, could be looked at from an alternate angle, since you are literally building your body with fake materials.
The following hypothetical scenario further explains the debate, and raises a number of other questions. Imagine that a bodybuilder with cosmetic surgeries wins a competition. Would he have won without the surgeries, if he had just relied on his natural appearance? Who is to say that his competitors also did not have cosmetic surgeries? In that scenario the cosmetic surgeries helped one person and not the other person, so is the winner the only individual who should be considered unethical since he profited the most? Since the option of cosmetic surgeries is truly open to anyone who wants them, would you consider taking the risk of be on the uneven end of a bodybuilding competition if you suspected your competitors were taking that route?
Cosmetic surgery news will continue to be a discussion in the world of bodybuilding, but just like most things in life the case by case scenario and situation should be considered when questioning if it is ethical or not.