Posted by Ben Lees, Partner
Is cosmetic surgery being trivialised by celebrity culture?
As cosmetic surgery becomes a topic of everyday conversation, highly popular shows like Love Island and The Only Way is Essex have been criticised for popularising and trivialising cosmetic surgery. It is common place to see advertisements on the TV and celebrities discussing the latest procedures, but is this trivialising what are complex and potentially risky procedures?
ITV came under serious pressure for showing plastic surgery advertisements during advertisement breaks in the popular Love Island reality TV show. Concerns were raised about the intended audience of such advertisements, particularly when considering the majority of the audience are teenager and impressionable young men and women.
Clinics even reported a rise in enquiries as a result of Love Island. Sisu Aesthetic Clinic in Ireland said that they experienced a 200% increase in the number of people booking lip fillers. As a result, the clinic has developed their own Love Island Package which includes a combination Botox and fillers for 450 Euros.
Speaking of potential customers, a recent survey by ComRes of 2,000 British adults found that younger people were more likely to consider cosmetic surgery, with 35% saying that shows like Love Island and The Only Way is Essex were responsible – rising to 55% in people aged between 18-34 years.
One US study even found that girls who view reality TV regularly are more focused on the value of physical appearance. 38% think that a girl’s value is based on her appearance and 28% saying they would rather be known for their outer beauty than their inner beauty.
What’s the effect of this trivialisation of cosmetic surgery?
Psychologist and Director at Body Matters Australasia, Sarah Mahon, explains that reality TV shows are appealing to young girls because they are presented as innocent and mindless entertainment. Her concern is that when “shows blatantly distil a person’s worth down to how they look, it sends a very powerful message that popularity and value are based entirely on this. Competitions that pit one person against another, particularly based on appearance, are the ultimate offender here.”
So should celebrities be responsible for the message they send to the most impressionable members of society? That certainly is not clear.
What is clear is that rising awareness of the risks that cosmetic surgery brings with it is essential. No cosmetic procedure comes without risks. Simply because a celebrity condones or promotes a procedure does not mean that it is the right procedure for the every individual, or that it is 100% risk-free.
If you are considering cosmetic surgery, and deciding it is right for you, you should therefore:
- discuss the risks involved in the procedure with your surgeon or health professional
- consider alternative procedures with your surgeon or health professional
- obtain a second opinion
- discuss the procedure with trusted friends and family members
- take a friend or relative with you to any consultation.
If you have any questions for our cosmetic surgery negligence team, please contact them today.
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