An ethical debate is starting around cosmetic surgery. It revolves around the promotion by the medical community of elective procedures to youth under 18 years of age. Physicians are using social media, apps and advertising aimed at youth to convey the message that elective cosmetic surgery is desirable, adding pressure to youth to conform to an ideal of beauty when they are particularly susceptible to peer pressure.
Our pop culture and society’s deification of celebrity portray unrealistic images of beauty and create an environment that distorts and damages self-worth and self-esteem in youth. This is then preyed upon by what some see as greedy and unethical doctors looking to take advantage of youth by suggesting surgery is an answer.
Demand for elective cosmetic surgery has risen by over 400% in the past 10 years and increasingly this increase in among the very young. Studies show an increase in anxiety associated with inadequacy among this age group, prompted by social media. There are positive campaigns such as ‘Be Real’ that support acceptance and self-worth around body image and many are starting to say that this marketing by the medical community is irresponsible and must change.
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