Now new research is indicating what seems like a pretty obvious conclusion: people who take selfies are more likely to undergo plastic surgery. The connection is even stronger if the selfies are taken with filters, or if the posters regularly take down selfie postings that they later conclude aren’t very flattering. Cosmetic surgeons are reporting that members of the selfie crowd are coming to their offices with selfies where the features have been digitally altered and asked the doctor to change their appearance to match the altered image.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, I suppose, that people who take selfies are narcissistic and are interested in changing their appearance to try to reach their own definition of personal perfection. After all, if you spend your time constantly looking at your own pouting face, you’re bound to notice a few imperfections to be cleaned up. The selfie-obsessed also tend to compare their selfies with the countless other selfies that appear on social media feeds and find their looks wanting.
As one of the plastic surgeons quoted in the article linked above notes, that’s not healthy behavior. It’s the kind of behavior that those of us who don’t take selfies, and indeed don’t particularly like to have their photos taken at all, just can’t understand.
But we’ll have to, because the selfie epidemic seems to be getting worse, not better. Researchers estimate that 650 million selfies are posted every day on social media. That’s a lot of potential plastic surgery.
Ah, the double chin. That unsightly, flabby slackness of the upper neck that makes you look old and unfit and weak, all at the same time. It’s an embarrassing feature for any successful man who wants to radiate virility and good health and ruggedness.
But, what to do if you have those worrisome wobbling wattles? There aren’t exactly neck crunches or other exercises that precisely target that one, flaccid spot. But now there’s Kybella, a new drug that is supposed to melt that under-chin flab. Turkey-necked men can go to an approved Kybella practitioner, get multiple injections into their double-chin neck fat in a series of 2 or 4 or 6 treatments — at a price tag of $800 to $1800 a treatment, depending upon how much of the Kybella is needed — and watch the fat cells dissolve and the saggy necks tighten. Some people might freak out at having a needle repeatedly jabbed into their throat region, but that doesn’t seem to be discouraging too many patients. In fact, so many people are having the procedures that NYC plastic surgeons have had to increase their office hours.
These days, it seems like there is an injection or surgery or wonder drug for just about every less than perfect physical feature. If only cancer could be dispatched as easily as fat cells in the neck! Of course, the cost of Kybella might be more than some vain but loose-necked men can afford. For those members of the double-chin brigade, there is always the alternative that I selected: grow a beard and forget about it.
What motivates a person to have 348 plastic surgeries? In Rivers’ case, it was chronic dissatisfaction with her looks. And after 348 surgeries, she had the familiar looks of the over-surgeried set — forever puffy face, immobile features, skin stretched too tight, and cat eyes. In her search for an unwrinkled visage with perfect lines, she ended up looking as freakish as Michael Jackson. Ultimately, the sad joke was on Joan.
Plastic surgeons can work miracles to help people overcome disfigurement or terrible facial trauma, and some of the work that has been done to assist burn victims and injured veterans has been astonishing and life-changing. Elective surgeries, too, can help people who have always been self-conscious about the size of their nose or some other perceived facial flaw. But when people routinely have multiple plastic surgeries to tweak this feature or that, self-loathing and self-destructive tendencies would seem to be at work.
From New Jersey comes the unhappy story of a woman whose plastic surgery left her unable to fully close her eyes. She went in to fix “bumps on her eyelids” left by an earlier cosmetic procedure and was left with her current condition. So, she’s suing the surgeon. It turns out that she has had multiple procedures in the past — indeed, one of her allegations is that the surgeon, having learned of her many prior cosmetic activities, should have concluded that she was a poor candidate for the surgery and cautioned her accordingly.
The woman’s story highlights some of the issues about elective surgeries in America. Why do we have so many men and women who are willingly going under the knife for augmentation of various facial and body parts? Why wasn’t Eyelid Woman satisfied with her face as it originally was? Why did she find the bumps on her eyelids so disturbing that she felt compelled to pay thousands of dollars to deal with them? Vanity has always been a part of the human condition, but there apparently is some dark current in American society that has kicked simple vanity into overdrive to the point where some people are engaged in a relentless effort to achieve and maintain what they believe to be an ideal, youthful appearance.
The risks of a bad result from cosmetic surgery are significant. You may end up with a grotesque result, like Eyelid Woman or “celebrities” whose faces look like Roman death masks. But you also may suffer even more severe consequences. Anyone who receives anesthesia for a surgical procedure runs a risk that was not exist otherwise. If your surgery requires hospitalization, you may fall prey to the various forms of bacteria that are often found in hospitals. And if you experience one of those bad results, you may need health care for a real condition like a heart attack or a raging staph infection — not just a fleeting concern about whether a few eyelid bumps from your last cosmetic treatment are detracting from your otherwise flawless appearance.