• Thu. May 30th, 2024

What should we do about cosmetic surgery?

ByClara Edler

Oct 26, 2023

In the world of the rich and famous, celebrities are under constant scrutiny, and with the rise in social media, nothing goes unnoticed. Indeed, as trend-lovers, we copy their fashion choices, their diets and their haircuts. This has no doubt been the case since celebrity pop culture began. However, a more recent phenomenon is that of celebrities’ faces: increasingly, the facial features of our idols are taking on an uncanny resemblance to one another. That’s right, I’m talking about cosmetic surgery.
Cosmetic surgery in itself is nothing new; Botox and face lifts have been available for many years now. But what has changed is our attitude towards them. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by anyone who got Botox, not least because of the stigma around it. Fast forward a decade… it is as common as buying potatoes at the supermarket.

So, is the popularity of cosmetic surgery a negative development? Not necessarily. Magazines are crammed with articles on the subject, but what I’m personally more interested in is our response to this craze, or, more specifically, what the appropriate response is of those celebrities who participate in it. As technology improves and cosmetic surgery becomes more subtle, it is usually impossible to tell whether a social media influencer has had a brow lift or lightly plumped up their lips. But when the ‘perfect’ face becomes the norm, this breeds mass insecurity in young girls and women who desperately want to fit into an unrealistic beauty standard.

Perhaps the solution is to encourage celebrities and influencers to talk more openly about their cosmetic surgery. In recent years, more and more Instagrammers are doing just this. Just last week, popular influencer and make-up icon Meredith Duxbury uploaded a video in which she talked candidly about getting her lip fillers dissolved, running the risk of followers calling her ‘fake’ in order to be honest with her fans. Similarly, a number of cosmetic surgeons have begun posting videos on social media where they speculate on the procedures various celebrities have had done.

But, while this might be a positive for the social media consumer, it seems very unfair on the celebrity. Who are we to ‘out’ them when they are under constant pressure to look perfect? Indeed, although ever-diminishing, there remains some stigma around the topic, and anyone who wishes to keep their cosmetic surgery history hidden, should have the right to do so.

But it seems that celebrities like Meredith can do no right: if they don’t ‘admit’ that they’ve had things done to their face, then they are fabricating a toxic beauty standard, but if they do, they are normalising cosmetic surgery almost to the extent at which it becomes trend. Rather than embracing uniqueness and imperfections, people opt for cosmetic surgery. So, it seems to be a matter of weighing up the lesser evil: the normalising of cosmetic surgery for the masses, or the harbouring of a toxic and harmful beauty standard… is there an option C? In a world with no end to the possibilities of body modification and cosmetic surgery, we need to step back and re-learn to love uniqueness.

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