Cosmetic surgery in America is increasing by the millions. What was once considered reserved for celebrities and millionaires has become a commonality that is obtainable to everyone and as plastic surgery becomes more normalized the variety of patients grow as well. Minorities are among the fasts growing groups of people getting cosmetic surgery.
According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 3.2 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on ethnic patients in 2010 and the majority of these procedures are done to reduce outstanding ethnic features such as a large nose or the shape of one’s eyes. Since 2005, Asian-Americans surgeries have increased 126%, African American surgeries have increased 56%, and Hispanic surgeries have increased 84%. Although ASPS claims that most individuals with an ethnic background wish to keep their visual heritage intact, the procedures that many patients (of all ethnicities) request, have results that are all striving towards the same look.
Cosmetic surgeons admit that patients often enter their office with magazine photographs of various celebrities, yet no one seems to admit to the fact that these celebrities are often photoshopped into perfection. With the constant flow of ethnic individuals reducing nose sizes, creating wider-set eyes and lightening skin tones, is there a fear for the future of a world made in Stepford?
Many individuals take the path of cosmetic surgery in order to reduce the appearance their ethnic background. Although it is something they may not admit to, their actions go on to indicate the shame they feel for their ethnic appearance. The scientific formula for “the perfect American face” caters to a Western-style light-skinned face that is symmetrical in every way. It is not easy to put this face against someone with a traditional African-American, Asian or Hispanic features. When over 75 percent of the world does not fit into the stereotypical “perfect face,” what does that say about the world?
And yet every year millions of people of every ethnicity strive to achieve that “perfect face” through procedures such as a rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, or face lift. As society continues to pursue this impossible standard of beauty, individuality and ethnic features are slowly being erased. While cosmetic surgery helps individuals by increasing self-esteem in the pursuit of a more beautiful appearance, our society’s perception of what is beautiful is causing these appearances to become more homogenous.