2020 has been a year of dramatic change for many of us. It’s also seen a sustained uptick in the demand for cosmetic surgery. This is in part being driven by social media, whose corrosive effect on body confidence is mostly being felt by teenage girls.
And this is precisely the demographic which the Advertising Standards Agency is looking to protect through a raft of plans put forward in early September. In the future, advertisers may be forbidden from telling teenage girls that their bodies are substandard and must be improved through expensive intervention.
What do the numbers say?
According to figures presented in March by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), there number of procedures remained largely stable in 2019. Breast augmentation was by some distance the most common intervention, though it still endured an 11% reduction over the previous year.
What about our attitudes?
The lockdown has forced us into circumstances which persuade us that something isn’t right with the way we look. Staring at your own face on a Zoom call for a few hours a day can draw your attention to imperfections you might otherwise have been unaware of. Likewise, staring at the feed of an Instagram influencer might persuade you that your body doesn’t quite match up to the standard of beauty.
We aren’t just being turned on to surgery as individuals. There’s also a cultural shift that’s helped persuade many of us that certain kinds of intervention are, in fact, not a big deal. According to a poll conducted by VICE UK, on their Snapchat audience, around 59% of around 51,000 respondents replied that a non-surgical intervention, like a lip-filler, was comparable to a haircut or manicure.
There are a few warnings to attach before we leap to conclusions, here: a Snapchat poll is not scientific, and Vice’s audience of predominantly young people is self-selecting, and hardly representative of the population as a whole. Moreover, lip-fillers aren’t a surgical intervention. Still, Professor Ash Mosahebi, of BAAPS, was worried on the grounds that teenage facial structures are “still changing and growing and filers might damage that growth.”
What Should I Do Before Getting Cosmetic Surgery?
Going under the knife is a serious step to take. Before you decide to take it, you’ll want to examine your reasons for doing so. Have you given enough thought to all of the consequences? Have you spoken to a reputable, accredited practitioner who can draw your attention to all of the factors that merit consideration? By knowing what all the effects will be, you can determine whether intervention is right for you – and how you’ll recover afterward.