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Top 5 Plastic Surgeries Men Get: The Pressure to be Physically Perfect Now for Men, Too

Men’s obsession with looking younger, hotter and better-kept has spawned a series of industries seeking to profit off that attitude shift.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


This story first appeared inRebel Magazine. 

Joshua Vanorman is your average 30-something male. He has a degree, a girlfriend, a great social life and a good job at a marketing firm in Scottsdale, Ariz. Vanorman also has a flatter stomach and a tighter derriere, thanks to a tummy tuck and Brazilian butt lift he recently had performed.

“I run in a group of people where it’s very accepted,” Vanorman says. “I have six or seven friends who have had liposuction in trouble spots. It’s like a little miracle.”

Welcome to the ever-evolving, metrosexual world of the 21st-century male. Whether it’s plastic surgery, personal trainers, skin care products, laser hair removal or dietary supplements, a world once dominated by women is being invaded by men. With more options available, greater social acceptance and a burning desire to feel and look younger, increasing numbers of middle-aged men are drinking from the science-powered fountain of youth. Despite the stigma sometimes attached to this level of vanity, and some potential dangers, this trend shows no signs of slowing.

“Men want to look younger so they are doing all that they can to try and reverse the aging process. They’ve discovered there are acceptable alternatives that they no longer have to be secretive about,” says Dr. Felmont Eaves, who is the former president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a partner at Charlotte Plastic Surgery and an attending surgeon at Carolinas Medical Center and Mercy Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

“It’s been a gradual process to reach this point,” Eaves continues. “If you go back 30 to 40 years, plastic surgery was something for the rich and famous — Hollywood types. It wasn’t for middle America. But if you look at the cost now, it’s become affordable for the majority of people in the country. At the same time, people have gotten used to the concept when it’s discussed in the media and among friends. Men’s attitudes toward it have paralleled those of women.”

American men had more than 750,000 cosmetic procedures in 2010, according to ASAPS statistics. While that number represents just 8 percent of the total, the number of annual cosmetic procedures for men has increased more than 88 percent since 1997. Nearly 75 percent of those procedures were for men between the ages of 35 and 64.

The top five surgical procedures for men in 2010 were: liposuction (37,183), rhinoplasty (30,099), eyelid surgery (20,675), breast reduction to treat enlarged male breasts (18,256), and cosmetic ear surgery (10,849). Eaves says the tummy tuck is also a fast-rising procedure that will likely crack the top five soon.

“Every men’s magazine you open these days seems to suggest that you don’t get through the door unless you have a six-pack ... [The] media are far more pervasive than they used to be, and when media show images, they create an ideal that people aspire to,” Eaves says.

Sex appeal in advertising used to be an almost-exclusive domain for women. Then People Magazine debuted its"Sexiest Man Alive" feature in 1985, Calvin Klein put Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark) in nothing but his underwear, and the Chippendales (established in the late 1970s) became the first all-male stripping troupe to make a business out of performing for mostly female audiences. In a generation’s time, the male body became a part of the mainstream media, and men had something new to worry about.

“We’ve seen a bit of a shift in power and roles in our society that’s been occurring over the past 20 years or so,” says Dr. Erin Shannon- McGowan, a clinical psychologist and energy medicine practitioner based in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton. “In the last few years, the stress on the economy may have heightened anxieties, but in my opinion, this trend is almost a reaction by women becoming sick and tired of being looked at as a sex object. Women are thinking, ‘Screw this. I’ll look at you as a sex object, too. I’ll go to Chippendales. I’ll wait for the hot guy and I want chiseled abs.’”