I’ve been a feminist for years. I’ve wanted a nose job for much longer.
I had thought about getting rhinoplasty (the surgical term) for more than a decade. I remember mentioning it to my mom when I was in middle school, not long after a doctor had confirmed the presence of my deviated septum, which meant one of my nasal passages was narrower than the other, mildly obstructing my breathing.
My beautiful mother passed down her family’s strong nose to me—its slightly crooked and pronounced bridge and fleshy, bulbous tip. My dislike of this part of my face didn’t take up an alarming amount of my brain space on a regular basis, but consistently enough that it always lingered there, not far below the surface, coming out intermittently when someone took a photo of me at a certain angle or when I was laughing and caught myself in a mirror, seeing it stick out more than usual.
Meanwhile, I developed my identity as a feminist in college. I credit a mix between the women’s studies courses I took, the wave of Internet Feminism in the mid-to-late 2000s, and a growing attentiveness to the politics that surround being a woman in the real world, outside of the haze of teenage self-centered tendencies. I discovered Riot Grrrl and Sleater-Kinney and bell hooks. I embraced my bodily autonomy and became aware that there are a lot of people (mostly older white men) in this world trying to make decisions about my rights and my body and my future—decisions that should belong to me and me alone.
In January of 2014, after turning it over and over in my head and being out of college for several years, I took the leap and seriously looked into surgery. My income and savings were modest, but I filed the procedure with my insurance, tightened the purse strings over the next several months, saved like crazy, took out an interest-free-for-a-year credit card and made the appointment.
I scheduled a consultation with a surgeon recommended by a good friend’s mom who had the same procedure and was pleased with her result. The doctor greeted me with a warm smile, sat me in a chair, adjusted the back, pulled a bright light towards my face like in a dentist’s office, and examined my face. He said my septum was crooked, mentioned a lot of things about my dorsal and bridge, and said he could fix all of it. I made an appointment for the fall.