Vanity operations have been around for a long time. Historians and scholars note that while some of the “augmentations” we perform today date back to the early 1800s, there have been documented instances of plastic surgery even in ancient India — when a guy named Sushruta somehow managed to use skin grafts during the sixth century BCE. Maybe it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that more people are approaching plastic surgeons to see what can be done more easily in the modern age.
We call these operations “vanity” because technically no one needs one to thrive or survive. But as old as the argument against plastic surgery is, it seems to only become weaker as time marches onward.
For example, it’s 2020 and the definition of the word “transgender” can finally be considered common knowledge. Would you really begrudge plastic surgery to a person who was born physically into one gender and psychologically into another? A female-to-male transgender man might opt for removal of the beasts, while a transgender woman who transitioned in the other direction might opt to augment her body with breasts. And what’s wrong with that?
Transgender surgeries are on the rise, and we can expect the trend to continue throughout the decade.
Other surgeries are performed for reconstructive purposes. Car accidents in particular result in a number of terrible injuries, many of which include physical scarring or permanent disfigurement. Should a person not be allowed to have a reconstruction surgery to look and feel like they once did? More people are waking up to say “yes.”
More Americans are beginning to consider circumcision a vanity operation because of what it represents: a technically unnecessary surgery most often performed only days after a child is born for religious reasons. The available studies promoting its health benefits are tenuous at best. The most popular ones were done in West African countries like Uganda, where Ebola spread like wildfire in 2014. There’s a reason we weren’t worried about it here. Hint: hot water.
(Many parents believe that circumcision prevents a number of health problems down the road, but these assumptions are grossly overblown. England, for example, circumcises infants at a rate of about 4 percent and its citizens have fewer sexual transmitted infections than Americans do — and remember, Americans are the superhumans of cleanliness, according to us. If circumcisions made a noticeable difference, those numbers should be very different. Keep in mind that American health organizations are the only ones in the world that argue you should circumcise your baby boy: $$$$$$$.)
One of the most popular arguments for circumcision is appearance. And that’s a fair argument. But since most parents make the decision for vanity reasons, certainly they should be okay with other people doing the same thing.
The more controversial procedures are age-related, especially among aging women. There will always be those who promote a healthy body image no matter what a person was born with — and those people will always have a good point. Learning to live, and love living, in your own skin is a major hurdle for many of us, and it takes focus and hard work to make it over that hurdle.
Regardless, it doesn’t mean someone can’t be both confident and want to change the way they look. We have the option to “customize” our appearance in 2020, so to speak, and people should become more comfortable with the reality that more and more people are going to start doing exactly that.
These customizations don’t necessarily mean surgery. Dyeing hair is one of the most popular methods of feeling young. Botox injections are used to smooth out those annoying forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet.
But according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of basically non-invasive cosmetic augmentations has skyrocketed around 228% in the last two decades. People love the word “non-invasive” for a reason. It means simplicity. It means a lower recovery time for those who do decide to change the way they look.
Cosmetic augmentations or minor adjustments you can expect to see more of throughout the 2020s include: eye lift surgery, body contouring, injections, filler, piercings, rhinoplasty, fat-grafting, etc.
Many of these have been called “tweaks” by the plastic surgeons who provide them.
Plastic surgeon Lara Devgan, who built her practice in New York City, says, “We are definitely seeing the rise of ‘tweak-ment.’ It’s definitely not like 10 years ago when people were coming in with the cover of a magazine wanting to look more like a supermodel that had nothing to do with their lives. Now, people want to look like their own filtered photos or a Photoshop version of themselves. And recently, people are super into the tiny little micro-optimizations that make them feel a little more confident but are not completely obvious.”
And why shouldn’t they achieve that shiny new appearance?