While the stereotype says it is women who worry most about body image, in truth men also are concerned about what they see when they gaze in the mirror.
They just aren’t always willing to admit it. So, while more men than ever before are turning to cosmetic surgery to improve what they see as defects in their appearance, plenty of others are reluctant to even acknowledge anything that could be seen as a weakness or a flaw.
“For many men, especially older men, being concerned about their appearance is not manly,” says Dr. Dennis Schimpf (www.sweetgrassplasticsurgery.com), founder of Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery and author of Finding Beauty: Think, See and Feel Beautiful.
“They are probably as insecure about their appearance as any woman might be, but they feel that they need to project confidence or be indifferent to their looks.”
Still, some men are clearly putting aside those worries. For example, the number of tummy tucks for men increased 12 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to a study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction procedures for men were up 23 percent, and breast-reduction surgeries were up 30 percent.
Even so, Dr. Schimpf says, men who do explore the idea of plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons often seem embarrassed.
“Sometimes a man will come in with his wife, who will talk about herself first, and then open up the conversation to what he’s considering having done, almost as if it’s an afterthought,” he says.
But slowly but surely, more men are entertaining the idea of making changes to their appearance. Dr. Schimpf says a few reasons for that include:
Changing times and attitudes. Men who are baby boomers often worked in jobs involving physical labor. How they looked did not matter on the job. “We live in a different world today,” Dr. Schimpf says. “Men are more concerned with their appearance – their hair, their clothes, their overall look. Little by little, It’s becoming more acceptable for men to publicly talk about looks, and every day there are new products on the market for men who want to change the way they look.”
Technological advances in plastic surgery. Today’s technology allows for less-invasive procedures, which appeal to men. “Men are looking for procedures that deliver more subtle changes with quick recoveries because they want work done ‘under the radar’ essentially,” Dr. Schimpf says. “They don’t want others to know they’ve had something done because of what they believe people will think.”
Social media’s influence. One factor that affects both men and women is how in today’s world, everyone is constantly being photographed and those photographs often end up on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites for all the world to see. That makes it more difficult than in the past to not care what others think, Dr. Schimpf says. “Patients tell me all the time that they didn’t realize they had a double chin until they saw themselves on their cell phone screen when they turned it on to take a selfie,” he says.
The bottom line, though, is that anyone considering plastic surgery needs to make the decision based on what’s best for them, and not based on how other people view them, Dr. Schimpf says.
“People are going to think what they are going to think, and those who are the most critical of others often have many issues themselves,” he says. “If you try to do for yourself only what someone else thinks is reasonable, you’re not going to be happy.”
About Dennis Schimpf, MD, MBA, FACS
Dr. Dennis Schimpf (www.sweetgrassplasticsurgery.com) is the author of Finding Beauty: Think, See and Feel Beautiful, and the founder of Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery, a multi-faceted practice focusing almost exclusively on cosmetic plastic surgery of the face and body. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), as well as a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS).