Gen Z’s getting plastic surgery

Posted by Flux on 

10 July 2023

What’s trending? 
A study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery shows that 75% of plastic surgeons have seen a spike in clients under 30. Meanwhile, a recent survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that Gen Zers are increasingly opting for plastic surgery enhancements and – importantly – are being open about it. This contrasts with older generations, for whom plastic surgery has always been a taboo topic. A key finding of the survey is that patients’ top reasons for having procedures include wanting to “feel refreshed/look younger after ageing from pandemic stress” and noticing “things they want to improve during video calls”. Hours spent on video during the pandemic gave rise to what is colloquially known as the Zoom face phenomenon, in which the perception of one’s appearance becomes distorted after looking at your face more than ever before. This has given rise to a surge in demand for procedures from fillers to facelifts, which is showing no signs of slowing down. Social media influencers are transparent about their plastic surgery and this has helped de-stigmatise the topic. 

Why is it important?
This marks a shift in attitudes towards plastic surgery. Whereas in the past, plastic surgery was kept hush-hush, these days there’s more acceptance that people are free to make their own choices about their own bodies. Madonna’s unrecognisable appearance at this year’s Grammys, while it drew some condemnation, also elicited large-scale support for the more modern feminist point of view of bodily autonomy. Numerous young social media influencers chronicle their plastic surgery journeys and receive tremendous support from their followers. 26-year-old influencer Jazmyn Smith noticed a change in how young people discuss plastic surgery. “When I would bring it up when I was younger that I wanted a nose job, it was like, ‘Oh, you don’t need it.’ And now it’s transformed to, ‘If that’s what’s going to make you feel better, I fully support you. It’s just a more supportive conversation, not questioning whether someone needs something or not.” 

What can businesses do about it?
While businesses’ primary role is to generate profit, it is becoming increasingly expected of them to contribute positively to society as well. A younger generation of employees who are struggling with self-acceptance may need help bolstering self confidence levels. Employers can assist by offering in-house counselling services or providing access to mentors. They can also structure their hiring and marketing efforts to be more inclusive of different examples of beauty. As consumers, this plastic surgery-seeking cohort will respond to products and services that make them look more attractive. The jury is out however, on whether this phenomenon represents a problem to be fixed or whether it is simply a characteristic of a newer generation – one that should be accepted. 

By Faeeza Khan

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Image credit: Ehsan Amadi 

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