Cosmetic surgery is on the rise, both in the UK and around the world. Figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show that last year we saw a 17% increase in the number of cosmetic procedures performed in the UK – a total of over 50,000. There are a whole host of different factors which have led to this continued increase, one of which being the changing perceptions of having cosmetic surgery, and the decline of the stigma surrounding this in the media.
In our celebrity obsessed culture, we are constantly following the lives of our favourite TV, film and music stars, and many people find themselves trying to emulate their idols – whether this is the food they eat, the clothes they wear, or even the way they look.
While many celebrities will undergo cosmetic surgery, very few have been open about this in the past. Part of the reasoning behind this is that the media - tabloid publications and gossip magazines in particular - have taken a “name and shame” approach in the past. Those undergoing cosmetic procedures have been labelled as vain and self-obsessed, with very little discussion going into the underlying reasons behind their choices.
Times are changing, however, and more celebrities are coming out and having discussions about their procedures, taking the time to highlight their reasons, and the benefits, both physical and psychological, that the surgery gave them. Angelina Jolie was recently praised for her bravery when she not only underwent a double mastectomy, but was incredibly open about it.
It is no longer the belief that vanity is the primary reason for cosmetic surgery. Patients could have been in an accident, suffer from a birth defect, or have undergone major weight loss. For many, however, they simply do not feel comfortable in their own skin. To others, these small issues may be practically unnoticeable, but for the individual, they can have a hugely detrimental effect on their self-confidence. People can suffer from depression and anxiety, afraid to leave the house and show their face in public. If undergoing a cosmetic procedure can help alleviate these negative feelings, then surely this can only be a good thing.
It is only by encouraging conversation that we can continue to change these perceptions for the better, and as more and more celebrities come out and explain their reasons for their surgery, the stigma will continue to disappear and the general public will feel more confident discussing this subject.