Summary: Motivations and benefits for getting plastic surgery can sometimes be a little murky. What makes someone happy after plastic surgery? Is it the way they look, the way they feel, or the way they’re perceived. Is it different for California Botox or Ridgewood breast augmentation? A new study might promise a lead in the direction of finding this out—that is, if it’s not fundamentally flawed. We take a look at a study that seems to indicate that if you have plastic surgery, the people around you will perceive you as being more friendly.
Answer the Question: Does Plastic Surgery Make You Friendlier?
We talk a lot about body image on this blog and the way it works together with plastic surgery. We tentatively and loosely define body image as, essentially, the way you see yourself. Often, patients seek out plastic surgery because they want their real body to more closely resemble the way they see themselves. This is, of course, the primary reason that we encourage people to get plastic surgery: to look more like their real selves, to be more comfortable and more confident in their own skin—not, necessarily, to impress anyone else. And this is largely why people do, in fact, get plastic surgery.
But it turns out there may be some added benefits. According to recent research conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center, women who have undergone plastic or cosmetic surgery are more likely to be perceived as more likeable that those women who have not undergone cosmetic surgery. The study—which was admittedly quite small-apparently showed subjects pictures of women and were told to rate the likeability of those women. The results, of course, are not conclusive, and we shouldn’t take them without a grain of salt.
What Does Plastic Surgery Do For You?
Especially because, as they say in science, correlation does not equal causation. Let’s take a look at what cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery actually does. First and foremost, much aesthetic cosmetic surgery isn’t even performed on the face. Procedures such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, and so on, often have no impact on the face. It’s not clear whether the study included these aesthetic procedures in its pool of photos, but it would certainly be worth looking into whether that affects the results (and, frankly, it would be more interesting if they did not affect the results).
But here’s what I think is happening. There’s other research out there that basically shows that people who want plastic surgery and who then get plastic surgery are likely to be happier in general. Now, there are all sorts of reasons for this (for example, it could be that those who want plastic surgery are more likely to be from a comfortable financial background or have a certain predisposition to feeling happy or get extra satisfaction out of getting what they want—there are all sorts of possibilities).
Does Plastic Surgery Make You Happier?
Now, money doesn’t buy happiness, of course, but that sense of getting what you want might. Whatever the cause, happiness can be contagious. And, generally, I think that happier people tend to be seen and perceived as more friendly. So my guess is that what’s basically happening is something like that—people who get plastic surgery (and who wanted it) are happier, and that makes them seem more friendly, so they’re perceived as being friendlier.
We should also take into account that there’s plenty of data that shows patients who, after plastic surgery procedures, display an increased amount of self-esteem, confidence, and, therefore, might project a certain sense of friendliness. This seems to be a more likely causation than, say, the aesthetic cosmetic surgery itself. The surgery causes confidence to go through the roof, the confidence shows in the photo, the people who look at the photo perceive friendliness.
This certainly isn’t the first study to show a social benefit for those who receive plastic surgery services. Some studies have even shown that, if you look a certain way, you’re more likely to receive a raise or get a job (this is especially true of women, but that’s a whole other article that’s worth discussing—so we’ll save that double standard for another time). In other words, there are a lot of benefits that could come from a plastic surgery procedure—not just looking a little bit more like your real self.
The Benefits of Plastic Surgery
Which is a long way of saying that, if you’re interested in plastic surgery and you want plastic surgery, there can be many benefits. Not only for your own body image and how you perceive yourself, but for the way others perceive you, as well. Because at the end of the day, the way others perceive you will almost always find a way to influence the way you perceive yourself. In other words, body image is not an insular thing—it’s always being shaped and can be influenced by the outside world. And so when you want to make your body appear more like your body image, you should know that these things play off each other.
So if you’re thinking about plastic surgery, talk to your plastic surgeon today to get started on your own body image transformation.