IEET > Rights > HealthLongevity > Vision > Bioculture > Interns > Kristi Scott > PostGender
Jon & Kate plus Plastic Surgery
Kristi Scott   Jul 8, 2009   Care to Elaborate  

I have watched Jon & Kate plus 8 since the beginning. For those of you who don’t know this is a show about a mother and father who had a set of twins and then a set of sextuplets, totaling eight children. For those of who are wondering why I am doing a two-part musing of this show and don’t like reality TV I say give it a chance, again. There is a lot to see in reality TV other than people making a debacle of their lives and I have watched my fair share of it.

For this first part of my look a Jon & Kate plus 8 I am going to focus on the cosmetic plastic surgeries that have taken place within this husband and wife. I am going to look at the possibilities that these procedures affects on the relationship of the couple, their family and ultimately as we now know the downturn of their marriage.

Ok, back when this show started we were able to see into the life of a regular couple and how they were coping with raising eight kids. This was no easy feat and the mother, Kate, was a controlling mother. In her defense to those who do not like her, it’s hard to maintain order, organization and cleanliness in a house of only three kids, let alone eight. Give the woman a break for doing it with more kids and less money. She was a normal looking mom, frazzled in sweatpants and t-shirts with baby mess on her. Her hair was low maintenance and so was her make-up. Who can fault her with eight kids?

She showed us her stomach, which was nicknamed the ‘jowls of the dog’. I empathized with her and her sagging stomach riddled with stretch marks and never to look or be the same. I have never carried to term six children at one time myself, but I have had three of my own and was not blessed with genes that prevented stretch marks. She was real and her stomach a testament to what she had been through. What mom out there in the same stomach boat as Kate and me wouldn’t want a tummy tuck to eradicate what Mother Nature did to us?

And then, somewhere out there a wife of a plastic surgeon saw the episode where Kate showed her stomach and thought she should do something. Actually, she thought her husband should, so they contacted Jon & Kate and offered her a tummy tuck, worth and estimated $5-7,000. As a viewer I was elated and jealous of Kate and her generous gift. Viewers watched the whole process through the series. However, something else happened after this surgery, something I don’t think that plastic surgeon’s wife, the show, Kate or her husband anticipated. Kate not only looked better, she felt better. With this newfound self-esteem Kate started to change.

Time went on and the bossing from Kate to her husband continued, only a little more forcefully with Jon. He kept nodding and doing what she said. The offers to make this couple better kept coming. On the show the couple was offered teeth whitening. They drink a lot of coffee to keep up with eight kids, again, who can blame them. So now Kate had whiter teeth to go with her great stomach.

Something else, Kate’s hair started to change, it was similar, but better. The cut was still easy to maintain, but now it had highlights and product in it most of the time. Kate started tanning to have that great glow. The sweat pants were replaced with an episode when they went to Banana Republic to buy Kate a new wardrobe.

Now, I don’t know how many of you have one spouse working and ten mouths to feed, but generally you don’t see people like that shopping at BR or having the time to go out tanning and keeping up their highlights. Kate wanted to look nicer since she could fit into clothes better again, without that excess skin from carrying six children. They were making more money off the show and had the excess cash to do all of this. Kate is not alone though, Jon was offered hair plugs and there was a whole show on that.

So, to recap, the family’s life was to be documented to show how it was to raise eight kids and through that notoriety the parents have become way better looking. The money that has come from the show has enabled this betterment of appearance and someone to be a personal assistant to Kate and watch the kids while Jon & Kate are away.

I’ve watched as this all was going on slowly growing more distant, until this summer when I heard about them separating. This was a couple that was, for what it appeared on the outside to be in a loving relationship. Tense at times, but loving, and most couples have these tense moments not in front of millions, so I will give them a little leniency. But going back to the transformation of Kate you can’t help notice that the better Kate looks, the more self-confident she gets. Of course you say, who doesn’t. However, lets look at it from another perspective, take out reality TV.

We have a homely mother who just gave birth to eight kids. She’s a normal for all intents-and-purposes mother. She’s not famous, she’s not known, she’s just someone who shops at Walmart. Her appearance is less than marketable from a procreation stand-point, with the stomach etc. She’s loved by her husband for giving up her body and self for the children. Now, you step in to this family’s lives and you give her a complete make-over and make her the woman she could have only dreamed to be before. You make her thin, sassy, fashionable, overall a desirable sexual commodity. Then you put her back in her house with her eight kids and walk away. She has great self-esteem, but isn’t it possible that with this newfound self-esteem and body she might think to herself, I’m hot! I can do better! People want me now! Even though, she’s still in the same life essentially as before.

Now, when you get this intense of a make-over and can hire someone to watch your kids instead of you being the stay-at-home mom, wouldn’t that change a person? Is it that unrealistic to see that they are splitting up? Jon has new hair, whiter teeth and new clothes, he’s marketable, and people want him. Kate has hair, teeth, skin, clothes and when she gets in the bedroom without the “jowls of the dog” it’s probably not as easy to see she laid in bed to give birth to six kids. She’s sexy, marketable and people want her too.

So I digress back to the cosmetic plastic surgery and the woman sitting at home watching the TV show, this woman whose husband was a plastic surgeon and turned to husband and said to do some good, help this poor mother of eight out and give her something that was taken away from her. I can imagine it being both a charity good deed and good PR for the husband’s company, but in the end were Jon & Kate ready for what it meant to their family?

I see this family as a glimpse further into the responsibilities that need to be taken with cosmetic plastic surgery. It makes you feel good, that’s great! I would love a tummy tuck too, but it’s about more than just wanting it. There are many other factors at play than a person and their surgeon. I think it’s time for the cosmetic surgery community and all those working in these types of vanity industries to take pause and think farther into the lives of the people they are affecting. Not just them though, there’s a responsibility even more on the people that choose to undergo procedures and to fully understand and appreciate what it is to alter their appearance, even if it is for the best, sometimes for the best of me isn’t enough.

Kristi Scott M.A. is an IEET Affiliate Scholar. Her work centers on the way popular culture presents issues of identity, body modification, cosmetic surgery, and emerging technologies. She has been a freelance writer since 2003 writing for a variety of magazines over the years, most recently as a writer and copy-editor for h+ magazine.


I , too, watched from the beginning and noted the same changes.  My husband watched a few times and at the tanning and highlight point he said…“All is not well in that household!”  “Kate has changed.”  Then there were some product placements and I thought I was watching The Truman Show…insert the 8 kids as Truman.  But the worst embarrassment was the new house and the refrigerator cleaning .  I could only imagine the former owners watching and how they must have felt.  I remember Jon and Kate saying they planned only to do this as long as the show was good for the family and the children.  That time has come !

Hubby and i were talking about this the other day.
My sister-in-law received breast enhancements many years ago.  She was dead broke, wondering where she would receive her next dine in order to pay utilities, but a boyfriend asked her what she wanted for Christmas that year… and that was it.  I recall thinking, what a great message she was sending to her pre-teen, teen daughters (Note the sarcasm).  My own mother mentioned how much of a confidence booster this was for Sister-in-law.  Upon hearing that I would think it being more of a confidences booster to actually have the money to pay utilities instead of fake boobs.

I guess I don’t understand peoples priorities when plastic surgery comes to play.  It does change people… and not always for the better.

I would agree with this analysis, in the beginning we had a different family and much of the current trouble could be traced back to the plastic surgery.

In reference to The Truman Show I am actually going to talk about this in Part II. You’ll have to check that out and let me know what you think.

I appreciate the input on how plastic surgery has had affects on normal families. I think this is an area for further exploration. Thanks!

All that you say makes sense. Kate has become a diva (in her mind) and that has changed her. Jon has become a stud (in his mind) and that has surely changed him. The part I can’t get over is that they just have left the children behind. They think they are fooling everyone when they say “we are doing this for the children” BULL!  People are not that stupid. You are doing this because you are terrified of going back to what you were before. Little do you know, it would be the best thing that ever happened to you. Right now you are both dispicable human beings that put a stupid reality show before your own childrens welfare.

I’m so very disappointed that Jon and Kate have arrived at this point in their marriage….with 8 precious children that my husband and I have grown to love!  We’ve seen every episode (including the repeats at 5 p.m. weekdays), and love that family so much.  I sensed something was amiss in early Jan. but wasn’t sure what it was.  I wish they’d get counseling and work on their marriage instead of getting a hasty divorce!  They are Christians, so they do have access to help….it’s now all about the children, not the big house and money!  Please, TLC, do what you can to help Jon and Kate.  Thank you!

Beautifully put Kristi. What is even more sad is not only has this plastic surgeon changed their lives, but now Jon is dating the surgeon’s daughter. What a strange twist of fate. In future, we should all learn from this and PRAISE THE JOWLS OF DOGS and embrace our post pregnancy bodies…cause even with the surgery, their marriage still dissolved.

I have watched some of the shows and have followed them by reading articles on the Internet. The portrayal of Kate as a “shrew” and a “money-obsessed” person may have some merit; however, it seems to me that Kate’s behavior has been the result of her husband’s inability to “carry his load.”  I don’t know any fathers of eight; however, I am quite sure that the following traits are not an option:  lazy, immature, spoiled, mean-spirited, tactless, unreliable, irresponsible, uncommunicative.  These traits (and many other unflattering ones) could be used to describe Jon. Kate has done what she has had to do so that her family’s needs (and wants) are met.  She could not rely on her husband to do it.  With all of the pressure and stress that this mother of eight (six the same age!) has had to endure, Kate has been doing her best.  Anyone who thinks that they have a better way to raise eight children (under the age of eight) has never walked in her moccasins.  Regarding the “makeover:”  I had the opportunity to watch the prequel to “John & Kate Plus 8,” which was Discovery Health’s documentary, “Surviving Twins and Sextuplets.”  During the show, Jon referred to her post-delivery stomach as the “jowls of a dog.”  When it came to the post-delivery change in the color and the length of her hair, Jon was very vocal in saying that Kate used to have long blonde hair, and that he preferred blondes.  Originally, did Kate think that her makeover would please Jon or further her career?  I think it was the former.

I have been a fan since day 1 & I remember OH to well Jon’s comments
“When it came to the post-delivery change in the color and the length of her hair, Jon was very vocal in saying that Kate used to have long blonde hair, and that he preferred blondes. “
I remember thinking WOW she just did all this for you (Jon) and NOW you want her to have long hair again.  I feel Kate was trying very hard to “keep” Jon interested and be a good mom, just after awhile she realized she was raising 9 kids not 8 and if she didn’t pick up the slack they would be in Deep… Although along the way “THEY” got lost.
BUT Jon NEVER forgot that Long Blonde hair that HE so wanted AND NOW he is dating it every chance he gets.
As for the Make-over stuff that began happening - Jon was going into depression and at one point Kate thought that may “help” Jon get a grip - but it did back fire because then HE felt I want the young LONG blonde hair & loose the kids I’ve 8 enough!
Kinda like a new toy it just isn’t new forever.
Kate did become stronger - I think she was always that way she was just tired and not into the groove so soon after having the babies that we met her.  Once she got her groove down she was working what she had.

“I haven’t have six kids in my stomach”

Since when has anyone ever had six kids in her (or even his) stomach?

This is troubling on several different levels..

Melanie, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have made the appropriate change.

I think she was always that way she was just tired and not into the groove so soon after having the babies that we met her. Once she got her groove down she was working what she had.

I had the opportunity to watch the prequel to “John & Kate Plus 8,” which was Discovery Health’s documentary

YOUR COMMENT Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Martine Rothblatt’s The Apartheid of Sex 15 Years Later

Previous entry: Draconian measures for molecular manufacturing?