A social mask. We wear this to mask the truth of our lives on social media and use filters and edits to share a false depiction of who we really are. In turn, this makes people believe that pictures posted by celebrities and other media influencers is how they look in real life and want to copy their look with cosmetic surgeries.
According to a study done by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 72 percent of surgeons said they noticed an increase in patients under the age of 30.
The American Association of Plastic Surgery reported that as of 2018, there has been 1.8 million procedures done and 4 percent of those patients were young adults.
The Role of Social Media in Plastic Surgery
The rise of plastic surgery in millennials begins with social media. Media such as Instagram and Snapchat produced by celebrities have an influence on the way young adults perceive themselves.
When celebrities like The Kardashian/Jenner sisters, Chrissy Tiegen, Zac Efron, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Dempsey, etc. get any plastic or cosmetic surgery done, it gives a false advertisement of a natural look.
Maddie Werndl, a sophomore marketing and advertising major. said, “We look at social media and we want to change ourselves to mimic the models, actresses and stars we see on TV and social media.”
Social media shows photos of women with their hair done, full-face of makeup and a “barbie-like” body type with consisting of a small waist, curves and long legs. On the other hand, men are portrayed as tall, muscular and with little-to-no body fat.
The article, “The Media and Body Image: How it Impacts Your Self-Esteem,” mentioned that, “The way men and women look in the media creates an unrealistic image of what we think we should look like. Only around 5 percent of society resembles the images portrayed in the media.”
In the article “Social Media Detrimental to Self Esteem,” senior communication student Sydney Lynch said, “There is a sense of unrealistic expectations that is built up by social media, creating a feeling of self-consciousness and low self-esteem” because “we don’t see what is really happening a person’s daily life.”
Gender and Body Enhancements
Does gender have an impact on how men and women look at themselves compared to others? What makes them want to change or alter the way they were born? Plastic surgery helps combat any insecurities and body dysphoria young adults feel, but to tamper with your body at a young age can only harm you as you get older.
Men and women are expected to look a certain way to feel confident in their own body- their own skin. This leads to an increase in cosmetic surgeries to feel more accepted in society and to make people feel more confident to be on social media and post pictures of themselves.
There is this ongoing concept that men have to look like Zac Efron, Jason Mamoa or Chris Hemsworth and have abs, muscles, tan skin, be tall, etc. One the other hand, women all over social media are getting body-shamed if they don’t look like Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, or Catherine Paiz with slim waists, long legs, makeup, curves in the “right places.”
Adjunct faculty member of gender and body studies major Allison Clark shared her personal thoughts saying, “I thought about getting my stomach clipped so that I could lose weight faster…I’ve thought about getting breast enhancements. It was only after I started getting tattoos that I began to feel more comfortable in my body. I felt as though a big shift in my body weight would distort the images that I’ve put on my body and I love them and that’s helped me begin to love myself.”
In sharing this, men and women should know that their body and the way they were born to look is what makes them unique and changing the way they look for someone else is not ideal. There have been many times where men and women get plastic surgery done and it either helps them or harm them. So why put your body at risk and pay thousands of dollars just to please people for likes and comments on social media.
When asked if plastic surgery is more common in men or women, Gabe Cano, a junior early education major, said, “Definitely women because how media portrays the perfect body for women is so harsh and that is it hard being a woman in today’s society because there are many different definitions of what a “beautiful” woman is.” People should feel comfortable in the way they look and be able to post pictures of their bodies without feeling like they are going to be shamed for it.