Plastic surgery taboo

DSC_0657In 2014 more than 20 million plastic surgery procedures were performed (ISAP). Almost half of these concerned non-surgical procedures like injectables and hair removal. A little over 20 percent of the total procedures were performed in the United States. These statistics show that altering your appearance isn’t rare; more and more people are turning to plastic surgeons to help achieve a more youthful look. But why is it then that so many people refuse to admit that they had something done? Why is plastic surgery still a taboo subject?

People do not want to get criticized. The moment you tell people you had work done is the moment you ‘allow’ the public to form and express an opinion about it. Given the fact that we do not wish to be the subject of criticism we hedge ourselves. Covering ourselves in order to avoid being liable is something we start with at a very young age. E.g. whenever you had a test at school you would tell your classmates that you hadn’t studied. In case you would receive a bad grade, you covered yourself by saying that you did not study for the test; hence the bad grade is not your fault. The same goes for our appearance. As long as we don’t tell people we plumped our lips or had our noses shaved, others are not triggered to form an opinion about our appearance and we can go on with our lives in peace.
Another reason plastic surgery is a taboo subject is due to the ongoing competition between women. Society is built on the principle survival of the fittest. We all compete with each other for ‘the best seat in the house’. Women especially compete with each other on the basis of their appearance. Whenever we discover something that makes us look more youthful and fruitful, we tend to keep this to ourselves in order to get ahead in the competition.


In today’s society plastic surgery is getting more and more accessible. But instead of fighting against this (which actually gives the subject even more attention), we should focus on what’s really the issue here. The fact that people are secretive about having work done is not that interesting, the issue is how highly we value appearance. Note that everything is relative.
We all are a bundle of contradictions. We all want to come across as self-confident and strong and send out the signal that we do not care about what other people think of us. However, we also all hunger for acceptance and confirmation from others, because at the end of the day we all want to be liked and loved. The path you choose in order to find out where you belong is up to you. Some people believe that fine-tuning their appearance is the right way to find their place in society while others focus more on their personality. Whatever path you decide to take, do it for you.