Are Beauty Vloggers Glamorising Cosmetic Surgery?
They hold great sway over their audience, promising them flawless skin and perfect makeup in the space of just 30 minutes. It’s fair to say that YouTube has propelled every day girls to new heights of stardom. And it all comes down to their image. These beauty vloggers look amazing, and it’s thanks to a few products applied in their messy bedrooms at home – relatable much? It’s no wonder that young girls can’t stop watching these videos – it’s like getting makeup tips from your best friend. So far so good, but what happens when these same people start vlogging about something more serious, like Cosmetic Surgery?
Is it right to vlog about a life-changing procedure in the same way you would about a lipstick? Is it morally responsible for vloggers to squeal about their new nose job or bigger breasts, in the name of beauty? And are beauty vloggers glamorising Cosmetic Surgery by acting in this way? Let’s find out.
YouTube vloggers and Cosmetic Surgery
Many popular YouTube beauty vloggers have opened up about the various procedures they’ve undergone. Considering their lives revolve around the latest must-have beauty products or the trending looks right now, we’ve found that just like any other Cosmetic Surgery patient, they all have different motivations for having a procedure. Interestingly, these vloggers can be grouped into three categories:
There are multiple health reasons which may lead to someone undergoing Cosmetic Surgery. For Cutie Pie Marzia, it was her deviated septum. She claimed in her video that she had Rhinoplasty to correct her breathing problems – but if it was purely for the health benefits, what made her decide to vlog about it alongside her usual makeup tutorials?
Others make the decision to undergo Cosmetic Surgery based on personal reasons. GiGi Gorgeous for example, made a video about being transgender. A few months later, she posted another which featured her reasoning behind having a nose job (Rhinoplasty) and a forehead softening procedure – as part of her transition. She argued that her motivations were completely different to those who have surgery for aesthetic reasons.
Dulce Candy is a little different. Breastfeeding her son had caused her breasts to change, so she decided to undergo Breast Surgery to enhance their shape. She argued: “I’m a grown woman… as long as my husband and my son are happy and they’re well taken care of, my choice does not affect anybody.” Her video got over two million views –so can she really be sure that nobody was affected?
Worse still in some viewers eyes, is Ingrid Nilsen’s vlog about body insecurities. Her longing for larger breasts and keloid scar removal featured heavily in this video. Nothing wrong there – until she invited her viewers to post their questions about body confidence to her Cosmetic Surgeon. “I feel like he was really helpful for me, so I want to extend that to you guys,” she said. Her viewers didn’t hold back their views, and although she may simply have been trying to help, many claimed she was irresponsible to end a video about body insecurity with a plug for Cosmetic Surgery.
And then there’s the vloggers who underwent their chosen procedure for purely aesthetic reasons. Step forward Meghan Rienks. In December last year, Meghan uploaded a video in which she documented her journey to the hospital where she had a Rhinoplasty procedure. In this, she excitedly explains she’s on her way to have Cosmetic Surgery, before addressing her parents, saying “today’s the day your lovely daughter breaks her face!” She later tells her viewers that it’s important to her to have the procedure because she has to go on camera and do these videos - “just because I’m on camera, like all the time, and you guys see.”
Rather than use the opportunity to explain to her viewers about the seriousness of the procedure, she uploads two follow-up videos entitled “I have black boogers” and “2 black eyes and bed rest is boring”. Missing is information on how important the recovery process is after Cosmetic Surgery.
Do these vlogs glamorise Cosmetic Surgery?
It may seem brave of these vloggers to admit to their millions of viewers that they’ve had Cosmetic Surgery. After all, it’s their choice, so what does it matter that they’re vlogging about it? The issue isn’t that they’re telling the world about their procedure, it’s how they’re portraying what can be a difficult and life-changing decision.
Known for their beauty videos, which give off the impression that a few well-chosen products and a bit of practise makes perfect, the fact these vloggers are then discussing Cosmetic Surgery in the same glib way is tantamount to normalising it. Or in other words, making it seem as though Cosmetic Surgery is your only option if you want to be beautiful.
Beauty vloggers attract a massive audience, many of which are young and impressionable. Rather than making it seem like once your makeup is off, Cosmetic Surgery is your only route to pretty, they could be using this opportunity to explain and show their viewers the raw truth about having a procedure. Everything from the initial consultation through to the procedure itself and the aftercare and recovery process could be documented, on a separate channel, away from the beauty tips.
"Cosmetic Surgery is a great way to help improving confidence or making those desired changes to your appearance, but should be done so safely. At The Harley Medical Group patient safety and satisfaction is the forefront of our business, identifying patient’s requirements and making sure we deliver safe, natural results ethically. It is imperative for patients to ensure they have unlimited aftercare and highly experienced surgeons and medical team to assist them through their journey. The Harley Medical group provides our patients with all the information they need to ensure they are making the right decision and are supported throughout their journey as a patient. At initial consultations with my patients, I ensure they are assessed medically to ensure they are a safe candidate for surgery, examine patients to ensure they are physically suitable for a procedure, once this has been identified then the patients are informed of every step of the procedure pre and post operatively, and all risks and benefits are discussed in full. This then gives the patient choice to make an informed decision on whether they wish to go ahead".
It’s not just vloggers glamorising the industry
We’re sad to say that it isn’t just beauty vloggers glamorising
the Cosmetic Surgery industry. You may have heard of the Snapchat Surgeon. Miami-based Dr. Michael Salzhauer has taken to posting videos of the procedures he performs via Snapchat. Everyday around 100,000 viewers tune in to watch the Cosmetic Surgeon complete Butt Lifts, Tummy Tucks and Liposuction.
He said: “This puts the whole process in perspective for people; they can relate to it, they can see how it’s going on in real time, and it makes them comfortable with the idea.”
At The Harley Medical Group, we’re not so convinced.
Unsurprisingly, the Doctor has seen his patient numbers increase from 15-20 appointments a day to up to 100 – all on account of his newfound Snapchat fame. He insists that he only posts clips of patients who have agreed to be filmed, but that’s not the point.
As a Doctor, he has a duty of care and responsibility towards his patients. He should be devoting every second of the procedure to the welfare of his patient, and his consultations to making sure that Cosmetic Surgery is the right decision for them. He should be educating his patients about the severity of Cosmetic Surgery, and how it isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. Instead it seems he is more focused on growing his business.
So to go back to the questions we asked at the beginning of this post; Cosmetic Surgery should be taken seriously and beauty vloggers should not allow their audience to see it in the same light as a makeup tutorial. Vloggers are influential and should consider this before passing off a life-changing procedure as no different to buying a new beauty product. By educating their viewers about their chosen procedure, rather than glamorising it, Cosmetic Surgery will be seen for what it is - and not as a means to become pretty overnight.