Summary: As with any gender description, when people discuss “masculinity,” they typically have some pretty strong ideas about what that means. This is interesting, because our ideas about masculinity and plastic surgery intersect in some pretty interesting ways, and plastic surgery to enhance masculinity is not unheard of—nor is it even a little uncommon. After all, doesn’t plastic surgery, in many ways, enhances anybody’s gender identity (whether that goes along with their anatomy or not) because that gender identity is usually quite snuggly attached to your total identity.
Plastic Surgery to Enhance Masculinity
What does a perfect man look like? It’s an interesting question, as there are plenty of stereotypes about masculinity. They usually involve such banal things as big muscles and chiseled jawlines and rock-hard abs. Oh, and no emotions. But that’s a different article (indeed, the intersection between plastic surgery and gender is an interesting one, and it’s definitely worth getting into at some point—just maybe not today). I bring this up because it seems that, for men just as for women, patients tend to use plastic surgery to strengthen areas that tend to be very gender-identity specific.
For example, there have been plenty of news stories lately about the rise of plastic surgery for men. Botox for men, abdominoplasty for men, liposuction for men and so on, have all been featured. Many plastic surgeons now have “for men” sections on their website, where they are sure to market just how successfully they’re able to honor your more masculine features and characteristics. It’s good marketing, and it’s not terribly different from the ways that breast augmentation or so-called “mommy makeovers” are marketed. Gender is one of the primary ways people give themselves a sense of identity, after all. If their bodies don’t conform to that sense of identity, that makes them prime candidates for plastic surgery.
Plastic Surgery for Men Helping Patients
And in that way, plastic surgery can do a lot of good. This is certainly true for the men who use plastic surgery to enhance the manlier parts of their anatomy. In fact, it might be useful to take a look at a few procedures and how they might interact with that masculinity (and by interact we, of course, mean enhance).
- Botox: This is a procedure that is generally used to make people look more youthful by eliminating wrinkles. Botox only works on a specific type of wrinkle: those caused by muscle contraction (and when those muscles get stuck in that contracted mode, causing the attached skin to fold). By paralyzing the muscle, the wrinkle is eliminated. The idea here is that youthfulness tends to equate to virility—not just in a fertility way, mind you, but as in possessing a zest for life. That vitality is definitely associated as a masculine trait—a kind of youthful energy. Botox helps someone keep from looking tired and worn out.
- Liposuction: The modern manly man is leaner and meaner than his 1960’s counterpart. As a result, sometimes liposuction can help create the appearance of a more masculine profile. By eliminating unwanted areas of fat—areas of fat that cannot be targeted by exercise or dieting—men can successfully attain that masculine look. Because fitness can certainly be seen in a masculine light—men are expected to be strong and fit. Liposuction can help male patients achieve just that type of appearance, and thus, that type of cultural cache.
- Gynecomastia: Since breast tissue is generally considered a feminine trait (and the more breast tissue, the more feminine), male breast tissue often makes patients feel quite uncomfortable and self-conscious. (It’s interesting how the introduction of the feminine somehow takes away from the masculine—but, yet again, that’s another article). Gynecomastia surgery removes the male breast tissue, giving the patient a masculine-looking profile. This typically leads to happier patients with increased self-esteem.
This is, of course, not the end of such a list. We can keep talking about various procedures. But there’s also one big thing: plastic surgery itself. Whether it’s gynecomastia in Minneapolis or blepharoplasty in Denver, plastic surgery for men is becoming much more socially acceptable. To be sure, you probably won’t find anyone who is terribly interested in bragging about it—but they also aren’t very embarrassed about it. This, to me, represents two things: first, the masculine ideal is getting ever more unrealistic (as the feminine ideal has been since, well, forever). Second, this tells me that, men are more comfortable doing what it takes to reach that ideal. It’s an interesting situation.
Helping You be You
I guess at the end of the day, if you want to enhance your masculinity, there are many ways to do it. I don’t find plastic surgery any more or less honorable than, say, spending three hours at the gym every day. They’re both a means to an end. And those who do become a bit more masculine report all kinds of beneficial results, including improved self-esteem and self-confidence. In other words, plastic surgery for men isn’t terribly different from plastic surgery in general. Either way, it’s good marketing.