In 2016, a record 18.5 million women underwent some kind of cosmetic surgery worldwide.
From invasive surgeries, such as breast augmentation and liposuction, to more minor, noninvasive treatments, such as Botox and hair removal, the trend of self-improvement is steadily on the rise.
In the 21st century, cosmetic surgery is as a run-of-the-mill as a trip to the dentist. However, discussing the “work you’ve had done”, can still feel rather taboo. Women, especially, make a point to keep their nips and tucks under wraps, even going as far as to hide it from their spouses and children. In an interview with The Telegraph, plastic surgeon, Dr. Bryan Mendelson, commented that nearly 99% of his patients don’t tell their better halves, and that most women decide to go under the knife without consulting their nearest and dearest.
But why? Are women ashamed to of their cosmetic surgery? Are they worried about the reaction from others? Is our media’s critical portrayal of cosmetic surgery to blame? To shed some light on this dilemma, it is important to first understand the motivation behind cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Mendelson elaborated,
“People have surgery not to impress others, they do it to impress themselves. For many people, it’s about getting their confidence back…People aren’t doing surgery to win someone’s hand in marriage, they’re doing it for their inner self. There comes a time, in your 40s and 50s, when someone tells you ‘you’re looking tired’. You were feeling OK until someone said that. But now when you look in the mirror you no longer see your vibrant self.”
If this is true then why are women afraid their partners and family won’t be supportive?
He continued, “Patients’ husbands tend to freak out about surgery, saying ‘I love her the way she is, why would she risk doing that? “The fact is it’s about self-esteem. They’re doing it for themselves.”
What influence does the media have on the publics perception of cosmetic surgery?
Dr. Mendelson insisted that, “The way the media portrays cosmetic surgery sensationalizes people who look ridiculous after an operation…The vast majority of people who undergo surgery have something subtle done. They don’t want to tell people as they don’t want to be treated differently. It’s like make-up, they don’t want people to notice what they’ve had done. They’re doing it purely for themselves and their own self-esteem.”
But should women (and men) assume the response from their counterparts will be negative? New research actually reveals the opposite.
In a recent poll from Daily News and Analysis, they asked men if women who get cosmetic surgery put them off. What the results revealed was that more and more men are comfortable with the idea of women enhancing their looks- nearly 50%. The other half preferred a more natural look, but agreed that if a women would like to enhance her looks to feel more beautiful and confident, then why not.
In fact, in 2015 over 3.1 million men worldwide underwent some kind cosmetic surgery or anti-aging procedure as well. The most popular treatments? Eyelid surgery and Liposuction.
Read More: Cosmetic Surgery, Is It Normal?
The truth of the matter is, cosmetic surgery is quite common, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For men, and women alike, it is important to talk openly with your partner about their motivation and desire for cosmetic surgery. In an interview with ELLE UK, pop-singer Kylie Minogue summed up the new attitude toward cosmetic surgery best,
“I’m not against surgery, I haven’t gone down that route yet and I don’t know whether I will but I’m not against it. The only time it isn’t amazing is when it’s not well done or someone takes it too far. But I look at someone like Jane Fonda. I’m a super-fan of hers. She doesn’t apologize [about her surgery] and she shouldn’t have to. We put makeup on every day, we tint, pluck, wax, we do anything to make ourselves look as good as we can and I think it’s pointless being hypocritical about something that if it’s done well can be really good.”