A British sociologist from Aberdeen University is researching public attitudes toward plastic surgery. As part of her research, she interviewed 80 women from the United States and the United Kingdom who were plastic surgery patients. She found that nearly two thirds of the women in the study used the concept of a surgical "other" to push off negative attitudes toward plastic surgery.
The interviewees, women aged 20 to 70, described "most" or "other" women who had plastic surgery as:
- Self-centered and shallow
- Obsessed with personal appearance
- Unwilling or unable to understand risks of plastic surgery
- Having unreasonable expectations for their procedure
- Working with a shady plastic surgeon because he is cheap
Interviewees contrasted this with their own extensive research into the procedure and their own understanding of its risks and likely realistic results. They tended to praise their own plastic surgeon as being a quality doctor, and credited their positive selection as being due to their research and knowledge. In addition, the women did not describe themselves as vain, and praised themselves for knowing their job, their family, and their health are more important than their appearance. Women described their own plastic surgery as being driven by "need," even when their procedure was breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or another primarily cosmetic procedure. Most interviewees described their goals as modest, saying they wanted to look natural and normal.
The interviewees often tied their surgical other to particular geographic locations. Interviewees in the UK described the surgical other as living in America. American interviewees, who lived in Florida, constructed a surgical other who lived in Hollywood.
This survey is a good reminder that, no matter what you may think, most plastic surgery patients are people like you. They are not trying to get outlandish or ridiculous results, but more likely to overcome a serious personal obstacle that is their appearance. They are not obsessed with their appearance, but have a realistic sense of the role it plays in their lives. Most often, the goal of plastic surgery is not to stand out, but to fit in.
If you would like to learn more about plastic surgery, our understanding patient counselors can help you learn about your options and the right procedure to get the results you desire. Please call or email Park Plaza Plastic Surgery today to schedule your initial consultation.