kaley cuoco
photo: Reuters

Kaley Cuoco celebrated her 31st birthday on November 30. 

While 31 is by no means a major milestone, I'll be there in six months, so it feels like one to me ... and it also feels like it's high time for me to finally grapple with my feelings on whether or not Cuoco can be a body positive advocate, given all of her controversial comments on plastic surgery.

On the one hand, I really, really want to like Kaley. To see a woman my age so wholly embrace exercise and wellness after a party-heavy 20s and a devastating breakup is something I relate to personally.

Cuoco, ICYMI, finalized a divorce from her ex, Ryan Sweeting, this past May. 

Since then, her Instagram has been full of inspiring photos of Cuoco working out, dancing like a dork, horseback riding, and just generally living a full and happy life. Her body hasn't become noticeably thinner, but she has gotten in noticeably better shape — something she attributes to a healthy diet and yoga practice that make her feel happy to be in her own skin.

... And all of this is great! I also went through a tough, embarrassing break-up after a long relationship in my 20s, did the whole "crazy Los Angeles partying" thing, and eventually embraced running (if not clean eating, I love my carbs) as a way to feel like a happier and healthier me. So minus the whole multi-millionaire thing, I can identify with Cuoco as a fellow pro-exercise, happily muscular, body-positive woman ... 

... That is, until her comments about her breast implants being the "best thing I ever did" hit the interwebs last week.

In the December issue of Women's Health, Cuoco made headlines for the following statement: 

“Years ago, I had my nose done. And my boobs. Best thing I ever did. Recently, I had a filler in a line in my neck I’ve had since I was 12."” 

Girl, best thing you ever did?! Better than negotiating a $1 million per episode deal for yourself — the same as your male costars — for "The Big Bang Theory?" Better than rescuing your countless dogs and inspiring others to do the same? Better than having the strength to end a toxic relationship, despite knowing you'd receive ridicule from the peanut gallery of garbage that is the internet? 

Just when I was starting to respect Cuoco as a badass, money-making fitness freak with thighs that could kill a man, she had to go and say something arguably as dumb as that one thing she said about not being a feminist because she likes to cook for her husband.

However, having had a few days to reflect on the matter, I've decided I'm still Team Kaley Is Body Positive on this one — because she made it clear that the ta-tas were for HERSELF.

A photo posted by @normancook on

"As much as you want to love your inner self ... I’m sorry, you also want to look good," Cuoco continued to Women's Health.

"I don’t think you should do it for a man or anyone else. But if it makes you feel confident, that’s amazing."

Aight, Kaley. 

As much as I still think the "best thing I ever did" part of this equation is questionable, I do have to admit that looking down on Cuoco for changing her body for herself would be body shaming coming from me. So many women in Hollywood get nips, tucks, fillers, implants and so on and so forth, and fans and media tend to shame them for it (ask Renee Zellweger) almost as much as we shame them for, say, gaining or losing weight.

It makes me just a little bit sad that Cuoco said the decision to get fake breasts is the best she ever made — girl, you are so, so much more than that! — but more than anything, I applaud her for coming forward with her surgeries instead of denying them, and asserting that she went under the knife for her own wellbeing. Maybe if more women in Hollywood would do the same, we could A) begin to realize just how widespread this practice is in the industry, B) look at ourselves less harshly in comparison to these surgically altered women, and C) just stop fucking judging each other for doing what we want with our own bodies.

Plus, as HelloFlo put it in their essay "Criticizing Plastic Surgery Is Just Another Form of Body Shaming," it's pretty strange that we freak out when women get fake boobs but don't seem to care at all when women or men get, say, fake teeth.

"Why is plastic surgery any different from dental procedures such as getting braces to make teeth straighter? While that is considered a norm for people with crooked teeth who can afford dental care, plastic surgery is seen as an external expense. How come every woman who enters an orthodontist’s office isn’t targeted as being anti-body positive?

... In the end, people always seem to forget that feminism is about a woman’s right to choose to do whatever she wants in her personal life or with her body without others controlling her. If a woman wants to get cosmetic surgery, it does not make her any less of a feminist than any other woman who embraces her natural body. If plastic surgery helps a woman feel more body positive than before, than stopping her or shaming her is just as bad in any other situation."

So happy birthday, Kaley, and thanks for being so honest about the changes you've made to your body. Now go out there and find something else that can be the best thing you ever did.

A photo posted by @normancook on