As more men have asked about cosmetic surgery since the pandemic, Ed Butler, a CNN reporter, decides to brave the Botox needle.
There’s an idiom that goes, “you only get wrinkles where the smiles have been”.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says that about half of its members saw an increase in questions from men last year. Is it because we have all spent the last year forever seeing our reflection on video calls?
“We know that more number of people have been on conference calls and social media because they’ve been stuck at home,” says a psychology researcher in body image at the University of the West of England, Dr Helena Lewis-Smith.
“There’s a setting on Zoom, allowing people to smooth their skin’s appearance. People who press that button during these calls are probably invested in their looks and have a worse body image.”
The increasing trend of male cosmetic surgery is more prominent in the United States, where demand has more than doubled over the past decade.
“Our society places a great importance on youthfulness,” says the former president of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, Dr Alan Matarasso. “Men are as anxious as anybody else about their looks.
“And there’s been a transformation in the culture of male grooming- it’s become socially acceptable for men.”
The changing patterns of modern work show a more hard-nosed business logic, he believes.
“We’re not in a world now where somebody works in the same job, or lives in the same house, their whole lives,” says Dr Alan. “And whether you accept this or not, many of us judge other people on first impressions.”
Cosmetic surgery does begin to feel like the front-line of a silent culture war, with shaming and prejudice liberally dispensed on both sides.