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Should Plastic Surgery Ads Be Banned?


I’ve always been an anglophile.  It started with an early introduction to Jane Austen and Miss Marple, but besides the dreary weather, I’ve often thought I’d be very happy living in London.  I’m even more inclined to think so since a new group in the UK is pushing a new, take-no-prisoners, badass feminist attitude towards the plastic surgery industry.  UK Feminista is petitioning the British government to end plastic surgery advertising.  In their petition, the make the very sound argument that,

“Cosmetic surgery adverts ruthlessly prey on women’s body anxieties to generate profit. They recklessly trivialise surgical procedures that carry real health risks and fuel body insecurities through messages and images of beauty ‘ideals’.  The aggressive marketing tactics of some cosmetic clinics have got so bad that the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons now support the prohibition of cosmetic surgery advertising.”

UK Feminista founder Kat Baynard points out that the advertising fails to mention health risks and information like “women who’ve had breast implants are three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.”  Whoa! How’s that for information Hef’s Girls Next Door failed to mention? I understand that anyone choosing to have elective surgery should do all the necessary research and make a balanced, clear decision.  But what is interesting and sad is how so many of these plastic surgery ads are found in women’s magazines (such as Marie Claire, Elle and Vogue) that are simultaneously writing articles about self-worth, love your body, embrace your uniqueness, etc.

I’m glad that England has been adamant about not only drawing attention to advertising but actually doing something about it.  We discussed last year when England’s Advertising Standards Authority banned two cosmetic advertisements on the grounds that the extreme retouching in the images constituted fraud, as the products being advertized couldn’t possibly achieve the results being shown in the ads. In a country that prohibits advertising prescription drugs to the public (another reason to love England), their new focus on the plastic surgery industry appears that finally women are standing up to an unhealthy, pervasive mindset.

I’d pay money to never watch another commercial for Viagra, Cialis, Latisse, Cymbalta, or the rest.  And I’m pretty sure I don’t need to see ads that say “Boob Job. Get More! Pay Less!”  But since the US is only one of two countries (the other is New Zealand) where it is legal to advertise prescription drugs to the public, I don’t see American’s depriving our massive plastic surgery industry their billboards, magazine ads, commercials and other advertising campaigns anytime soon.  However, do we think it’s a good idea?  Is Britain onto something?  In a time when 10 year olds are going on youtube to ask strangers if they are pretty or ugly, it seems that women’s and girl’s self-worth and beauty-consciousness are hitting an old time low.


A Zeros Before the One Poll

Should Plastic Surgery Advertising Be Illegal?

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