Media "A Disguised Cosmetic Surgeon"
- By Noor Mohamed Ali -
Sitting in front of the TV gazing the channels, I observed that most of the women and men who appeared on the shows and adverts were "beautiful". Then, I decided to have a trip in my town, glamorous billboards everywhere carrying the same "beautiful" celebrities and models. After my observations, I started to wonder: what is beauty? And how did I decide that these people are beautiful?
At that time, I realized that all the means of media had stereotyped "beauty" in specific features. This made us judge every person according to these attributes. As a result, many men and women feel depressed because they lack these features and here comes the magical solution for them which is "cosmetic surgeries".
The main reasons that encourage people to have cosmetic surgeries
There are different reasons that motivate people to have cosmetic surgery. According to “Khawater” program, the rates of cosmetic surgeries went up by 700% in the last decade. According to psychologist Ali Al- Qalaf, one of the main reasons that encourages people, especially women, to have cosmetic surgery is that our Arabic societies think that the beauty of the women is in her body and face not in her mind and soul.
As a result, women started to have surgeries in order to be accepted from the society. Moreover, Mervat Al- Henawy, dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, stated that the main reason behind having cosmetic surgeries is ageing, despite the fact that young girls have these surgeries to get married.
The relationship between Media and the rates of women having cosmetic surgeries
Media has a great impact on the rates of people who have cosmetic surgeries. The Media’s role is not only to entertain and give information, but there is another main role which is to form the attitude and opinion of people toward certain topics and issues (Mcluhan, 1964). "No doubt, media have had a great impact on the people by mobilizing them in an indirect way to have cosmetic surgeries, by presenting ideal criteria for beauty, which makes people feel depressed and lack self-confidence" Ali Al – Qalaf said.
Regarding the relationship between Media and cosmetic surgery, Doctor Mervat Al – Henawy stated that many patients who come to her clinic want to have the nose of a specific celebrity or the body of a model. This emphasizes the idea that media has a great impact on the people and encourages them to have cosmetic surgeries. She added that many shows nowadays have cosmetic surgeon as guests which made viewers more exposed to the idea of cosmetic surgeries.
According to a study done by Surg (2008), media content such as adverts and shows that tackle the topics related to cosmetic surgeries and introduces their magical results on people by having before and after pictures, build awareness in the audiences' minds about these surgeries and convince them about their safety and affordability comparing them to their gorgeous results. However, Brown (2007) believes that media doesn’t have a significant effect on the rates of cosmetic surgeries because the main contributor in the rates of these surgeries is the personal experience from relatives and friends, which makes people more familiar with these surgeries.
Lebanon has a culture that promotes every woman to have cosmetic or plastic surgery because many of their TV shows have cosmetic surgeons as guests. Magazines and adverts always present the images of “ideal” women, which acts as a pressure on the Lebanese women (Doherty, 2008). Moreover, advertisers always use sexual appeal in their adverts and draw connections between beauty and finding your perfect partner (Kaminski & Reichert, 2011).
The relationship between the stereotype that media introduce and the rates of cosmetic surgeries
Stereotype is a generalization to a group of people, ignoring any differences between the members of the group (Anti-Defamation League, 2014). Many years ago movies, adverts, and TV shows started to introduce a stereotype about women. These media contents showed that women are weak, are not able to cope with situations that they face, and that women are always concerned with relationship issues.
The relationship with the stereotype and cosmetic surgery is that in many cases media enhance the idea that women’s sex appeal should be her first priority and that it is unacceptable that women have any kind of imperfections such as aging and overweight (Anti-Defamation League, 2014).
Adverts are one of the main factors of mobilizing women to cosmetic surgeries because commercials don’t only satisfy people’s need to a certain product but also they create a need to the product (Wolska, 2011). This means that a commercial for a cosmetic surgeon; for example, doesn’t only satisfy women’s need for beauty, but also creates a deep need inside women for beauty.