Cosmetic surgery is becoming increasing popular in today’s world, however it is a topic that is strongly debated between those who view it as perfectly normal, and those who strongly oppose it due to the effect it can have on the rest of society.

Pro-plastic surgery commentators say that if it’s something which will help someone gain confidence, they can do what they want and anyone who opposes it doesn’t need to get it done. Troy Alexander, the founder of a lifestyle blog, says that “Appearance is the gateway to one’s personal brand”, and talks about how we have no right to judge other people for getting plastic surgery as that’s their personal brand and they are allowed to do what they want with it. Furthermore, he discusses the idea of looks being something that people first judge a person on and how this then influences others to get plastic surgery to ensure the best first impression. He goes on to face the bigger problem of how women in particular may feel devalued and pressurised into getting treatments done, as well as the problem with then shaming those same women for undergoing a procedure. This raises the important point that society’s expectations of woman could be the reason as to why they get surgical and/or non-surgical treatment, as well as the idea that criticising them after could cause women to have lower self-esteem and therefore get more treatment to fix this. Others like Cindy Joseph believe that plastic surgery is a “symptom” and that ageism, particularly against women, has gone too far. She directly links this to the reason for women spending large amounts of money on botox and fillers, with the public acting shocked when these things happen, even though they are the ones making negative comments about women ageing.

Over the last 20 years, technology and social media have dramatically improved. The average age a child receives a phone in the 21st century is 10 years old according to Influence Central’s 2016 Digital Trends Study. The same study also uncovered that, by the age of 12, 50% of children were signed up to various social media accounts (for example Instagram, Facebook etc). The younger generation become heavily influenced by what they see on their phones, which frequently includes portrayals of “ideal beauty” by celebrities, which may well be an explanation for the 22,000 more procedures that were carried out between 2005 and 2015 (according to the figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons).

Furthermore, social media is set to influence more individuals, with a new series coming out called “The Surjury”, where contestants must pitch to 12 members of the public why they want to have a procedure done. If these contestants get a 75% vote in their favour, then they will be allowed to get the “life-changing procedure” they want and will be asked to return to the show so that they can show off their results a few months post-op.

It is clear that there remains a wide range of opinions and judgments within today’s society about the ethical issues surrounding cosmetic surgery, some of which are extreme at either end of the spectrum. These opinions intersect with and themselves raise complex issues about society’s attitudes towards gender, ageing and sexual orientation.

Diya Dholakia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *