The pressure to be incredibly talented, globally influential and drop dead gorgeous is par for the course in celebrity culture. An expectation which, combined with loaded wallets and paparazzi fear, inevitably leads to the plastic surgeon’s office.
And who can blame them? If you could just stick your hand in your pocket and purchase aesthetic perfection because you were preoccupied with vanity, then why wouldn’t you?!
When one of the unfortunate side effects of celebrity is that there’s a public photo trail of your appearance for the world to view, why (oh why) would you think people wouldn’t notice?!
Glamorous Wheel of Fortune hostess, Vanna White's appearance clearly defies her age. Boasting a clear and wrinkle free complexion, she looks at least 20 years younger than her 56 years.
Vanna has never admitted to surgery but surgery experts are in agreement that a combination of a facelift, botox, eyelid surgery, a nose job and cheek implants are likely to be the reasons behind her youthful exterior. It is clear from the comparison of recent images with those taken previously that some cosmetic intervention has taken place.
That’s great for Vanna, she looks incredible, but what does her appearance implicate socially for your average 56 year old who does have all your natural signs of age?
It is more of an expectation that those in the spotlight will have had some sort of cosmetic alteration than that they will not have; which makes it a little frustrating (but somewhat entertaining) when they do deny it, but why do we care?
Celebrity admiration and gossip has been likened to coveting the popular kids in school; taking notice of what they do, wanting to be like them, idolising their success. People buy products endorsed by celebrities as they represent their ideal. So it should come as no surprise when their impossible standard of beauty comes under scrutiny.
Should celebrities be afforded the same privacy as the non-famous?
Of course, everybody is entitled to privacy surrounding their medical history, including those that live their life in public; but the fact is when your livelihood is dependent upon a fan base, their vested interest in everything about you will not just skip over the plastic surgery question for your convenience.
There is a line between an interest in celebrity and an obsession and it is fair to say that dedicating too much time to following the lives of the stars is going to cause problems. In social psychology the phenomenon of comparing a person’s own life to those of others is called ‘Social Comparison Theory”. When applied to comparison against the lives of the rich and famous, this unhealthy self evaluation can potentially lead to low self-esteem, depression, poor body image and eating problems.
To be reassured that the idyllic beauty has been purchased is something of consolation. Much like the unfortunate photographs that pop up frequently in the media of celebrities caught off guard, showing off their cellulite, unbrushed hair, warts, 3rd nipple, pizza-like acne etc etc. So perhaps the question of the right to privacy surrounding celebrity cosmetic surgery should be redirected as ‘do those with the power to influence have a social responsibility to own up?’ Would this help diminish unrealistic self expectation or would it push others towards following suit?
In recent years we worryingly see more and more media coverage of those undertaking surgery in order to look like their favourite celebrities. Clearly there is a question in relation to the psychological implications of such transformation in terms of why the change is sought and the long term affects. Surely aesthetic governance should be in place to protect against the unrealistic, rather than see surgeon’s focussed on the patient’s cheque book?
It is one thing to change the shape of your nose or enhance your best features but quite another to feel the need to transform in to another person.
Take Myla Sinanaj below (right), who has reportedly spent $30,000 on procedures including breast implants, liposuction and lip injections to look like her idol, Kim Kardashian.
And ok Kim Kardashian is stunning, who can blame anyone for wanting to look just like her, but when does simple admiration become too much?
A more extreme (and psychologically questionable) transformation is that of Diablo Delenfer who opted to change himself in to the ‘devil man’. Diablo (real name Gavin) has spent £10,000 on body modification to look like hell!
Eyeball tattooing (ouch), teeth filing, tongue bifurcation and horn implants have all been employed to secure this disturbing appearance, and what’s more the changes were all carried out without any anaesthetic.
Whether you agree or disagree, whether you make a hobby of tracking celebrity gossip or you couldn’t care less, undeniably our social culture makes high focus of the subject; a motive for uncountable articles throughout the global media, and one that is not likely to end any time soon. What are your thoughts?
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