Would You Get Plastic Surgery to Further Your Career?

BlogHer Original Post

Nobody likes to think that an attractive colleague might have a greater advantage in the workplace. After all, promotions and other opportunities should be based on how well you do your job -- not the length of your hair, or the size of your chest, or the slimness of your waist.

But apparently that’s not the case. Attractive people tend to get paid more, and they’re promoted more often, and because of that, plastic surgery procedures are becoming more common.

Now, of course this all depends on the industry in which you work. If you’re a freelance writer who uses the internet to send submissions and never (or hardly ever) has contact with your employers? You probably won’t feel the same kind of pressure. But other workplaces are different. Maybe they want an attractive person interacting with their bigwig clients, or sitting at the front desk greeting visitors.

I wonder...what’s the reason for the rise in cosmetic surgery? In the past few years, have women suddenly become so much more uncomfortable with the way they look? Has the stigma lessened, along with the risks? Or are reports like these -- telling us we’ll have more opportunities in the workplace if we look more attractive -- partly to blame as well?

I have mixed feelings about plastic surgery. On one hand I wish there was never a reason for a woman to feel insecure about the way she looks. But, unfortunately, that’s not realistic. I also know there are plenty of women who have had procedures done and felt a whole lot better about themselves afterwards. Who am I to judge and say they should have remained the way they were?

After all, if people want to look better, there are other things you can do to your body that could be compared to the risks of having a surgical procedure. What about going to tanning beds and/or laying out in the sun to darken your skin? At least cosmetic surgery doesn’t cause skin cancer.

There are also certain procedures you can have done that don’t have the same stigma attached as, say, having liposuction on your thighs or getting a face-lift. For instance, I had laser-eye surgery last year, and I’m happy with the outcome. That was an elective procedure, and I could’ve chosen to wear glasses for the rest of my life if my contact lenses were really bothering me that much. But even though I chose to have that surgery, no one has ever questioned my decision or said, “My, how vain of you.” (Unless it was behind my back and I never heard about it.)

As another example, what about going to a dentist to have your teeth whitened? Just because it’s safer than going under anesthesia to have a boob job, it’s still elective. You’re having your teeth whitened because, in your eyes, whiter teeth will make you look more attractive. (And I have no problem with that. I’ve been thinking about having my teeth whitened, too.)

In US News, Liz Wolgemuth describes How Plastic Surgery Can Help Your Career.

[T]here's increasing research that says looks matter in jobs beyond the silver screen -- that beautiful people make more money and have more opportunities for advancement. So it's no real surprise that plastic surgery is being deployed as an instrument of career advancement. [...]

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that, among last year's most prominent trends, about two thirds of its members reported seeing men and women who requested cosmetic surgery because they wanted to remain competitive in the workplace.

Moe at Jezebel reacts to this trend of getting plastic surgery to stay competitive in the workplace.

Fun new trend being reported by two-thirds of plastic surgeons! People are getting it done to "remain competitive in the workplace," with eye jobs and teeth-whitening two of the most popular procedures. Hey, cheaper than going back to school and easier than learning Flash design!

If you want a non-surgical alternative to a rounder rear end? There’s always the option of booty-boosting panties. Leslie at The Weighting Game tried them (and posted pictures of the before-and-after).

And yes, I did wear them out in public, all day and all night long. […]

8:20am I run into the bedroom where Dan is still sleeping and start yelling and screaming for him to "look at my new butt!" He is very tired but musters the energy to prop himself up on one elbow (note: the fact that his wife is running around like a banshee, hollering about her butt at 8am, does not even cause him to blink an eye. He is quite used to such antics by this point.) "How lucky do you feel to have a wife that pulls stunts like this?!" I ask/demand. He firmly swats me in the ass to show his appreciation and we are both struck by the resounding, hollow "Thwuhp!" that fills the room; usually, such a move would emit a hard "Thwack!"

8:45am I bend over and Dan plays bongo drums on my Bubbles in some form of bizarre new-wave mating ritual.

Stella is debating about increasing the size of her lips.

I want to get my lips done. It has always sort of been at the back of my mind. I have nice little lips -- the operative word here? Little. I have a perfect cupid's bow but then the lips dwindle into nothing. [...]

I chickened out. I cancelled the consultation appointment. I care what my friends/Engineer/parents think (to which they would FREAK). However, now that they think I have cancelled I sort of want to do an experiment -- get it done and see if they notice! Plus, the thing lasts only six months so isn't it better to know than to always wonder?

Jill can’t afford plastic surgery, so she decided to look within to increase her confidence.

In celebration of the fact that I can not afford plastic surgery anytime in the near future, I’ve decided to take a long look in the mirror and admire the good things about my body. Even as someone who is overweight, I am still able to find some good in my body. [...]

I don’t desire to have these things done to please men. I’ve never had trouble getting a man, and honestly it’s never been my focus. I’m not saying I’m anything special or I’m some kind of knockout, but attracting men seems to happen with relative ease if you’re confident, and for a long time in my life, I was very sure of myself. I was focused, driven, and totally my own independent spitfire of a woman, and people in general tend to be drawn to that kind of personality.

Vintage Vandalizm knows women who have had surgery, but still aren’t content with the way they look.

I know many women who have undergone plastic surgery thinking they would be satisfied, many of my customers go from a nose job, to a whole body job. Truth is, they will never be satisfied, they seem to think that plastic surgery will cure there insecurities but later realize its the inside that needs healing. I deal with women everyday, all complaining about things naked to the eyes of others but there own. […]

Ive always been rebelious to the standards of society, but I too am affected by what I think is the perfect woman. No one could be that strong, not even me. I always tell other women to make there insecurities and weaknesses into there strengths, It does not mean I am completely satisfied with who i am, I too am fighting my bad conscience everyday, and i want women out there to know Im fighting with them..You are not alone.

Have you had cosmetic surgery? If you haven’t, what would you have done?

Related Reading:

Careers blogger Penelope Trunk says Plastic surgery is the next must-have career tool. Maybe.

Savvy Sugar: Is Plastic Surgery the Next Trend in Getting Ahead at Work?

Gabriel Olds for Glamour magazine: Why men crave real (not perfect) bodies

MSNBC: You Want a Prettier What?! (Patients seeking out procedures on belly buttons, toes -- and elsewhere.)

Newsweek: Chest Right: What you need to know about getting breast implants (the pros, the cons and the long-term consequences)

(Contributing editor Zandria also blogs at Keep Up With Me.)


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