“Ageless Gillian and the BotoX Files…”

“Ellie Goulding’s appearance at pre-Grammy party
sparks plastic surgery rumors”

“Is That You, Iggy? Azalea Steps Out
With New Face Following Plastic Surgery Confession”

Ignore the obvious bullying undertone of these headlines and consider them for what they are: outdated and old-fashioned.

This kind of hand-wringing over what a woman does and doesn’t do to her appearance isn’t new. The red lipstick we all know and love? In 1770, the British Parliament passed a law saying women who wear makeup are witches.

Two hundred years later, the pearl-clutching continued. It was 1956 and Clairol wanted to unveil its latest product — a “hair color bath” that gave natural-looking results at home. The problem?

“The social stigmas tangled up in the practice of dyeing hair,” says Adweek. “Historically, most women who colored their locks either worked the stage or, worse, the sidewalk.” These days, an estimated 70 percent of American women use hair-coloring products, and Clairol’s a billion-dollar company.

What’s our point? That in the age of safe, affordable treatments a celebrity debuting a younger-looking face or an enhanced pout shouldn’t be viewed as so radically different from that same star rocking a new lip shade or hair color.

People, everyday people, are also making the choice to get a little something done. Last year alone, more than 30 million people visited RealSelf to research elective cosmetic procedures like Botox that don’t involve invasive surgery. In fact, Botox was the No. 1 minimally invasive topic researched by RealSelf users in 2015, with almost 3 million users investigating the option.

[TWEETBLOCK text=”Tweet this”]In 2015, more than 30 million people visited RealSelf to research minimally invasive procedures like Botox.[/TWEETBLOCK]

What these numbers show is that things are different now. Cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery aren’t the stuff of bad sci-fi plots, and these are not backroom procedures made by a handful of vain, deluded men and women with nothing better to do with their money. 

“Just because someone is interested in a fuller lip or bigger breasts or using the latest anti-aging procedures doesn’t mean they’re insecure or shallow,” writes Robin Shobin of Charlotte’s Book. “It means they’re doing what feels good. And at the end of the day, we all want the same things: to feel confident, secure, happy and healthy.”

Shobin isn’t alone in her view. When Refinery29 author Ava Tunnicliffe decided to get work done, she “couldn’t help but feel like I was doing something I should be ashamed of.” Then she started asking questions. “I began to question why it is that we place such a taboo on plastic surgery when, in fact, it is such a common practice in this country.”

After sharing her story and talking to many who’ve considered or made similar choices, she came to the same conclusion that’s already taken as a given for beauty enhancers like hair dye and makeup: “No one should be shamed for the decisions they make with their own body.”


Have questions about cosmetic treatments? Ask a doctor on RealSelf.