A lot has been written lately about Chelsea Clinton and her recent wedding. The dresses, the schedule, the expense, the choreography of the wedding dance. All the little details our celebrity obsessed public thrives on and the media is happy to dish out 24 hours a day. There’s also been commentary about possible plastic surgery. Indeed if you look at photos of her growing up you can see that there are some changes. Most noticeably she seems to have had a chin implant and a correction of her somewhat gummy smile, probably with Botox.
So what’s the big deal? The media are always obsessed with celebrity plastic surgery. Mostly they discuss which celebrity is getting what plastic surgery and whether it is good, bad or ugly. In some cases, when it is good plastic surgery or you can’t quite tell whether the celebrity has had a nip/tuck or not and what they might be doing to maintain or enhance their appearance.
But for the vast number of people in the United States that have plastic surgery it’s not about beautiful people getting more beautiful or going to extreme lengths with plastic surgery in a desperate attempt to get that next big roll. It’s more often about people who just have a few details about their body or face that they’d like to change in an effort to be a little more confident about their physical appearance. One way to look at it is that we sort of work from the impression that there is a bell curve of appearance. We all want to be inside the bell curve ideally as far to the right of the top as possible, but most of us understand that that position is occupied by a few actors, actresses, supermodels and genetically blessed people. For the rest of us were content to be within two standard deviations of normal, whatever that is. The fact is that our brains are programmed to recognize attractiveness and symmetry as part of our genetic programming to search for a healthy mate. There is a correlation between attractiveness, health and lack of genetic diseases. So therefore we are programmed to recognize beauty and attractiveness, and instinctively know what falls within the bell curve. At the same time, we tend to assess our own placement on that bell curve and we often have little things that we consider changing in order to move ourselves just a little bit more toward the right. Now this can be complicated by various psychological issues of self-doubt or self worth but for most of us, we see ourselves fairly realistically and can make rational decisions about what plastic surgery might offer us.
Chelsea Clinton, as a teen, had a few challenges with her features and tended to look a bit awkward. Many teens experience an awkward phase as their features mature on the way to adulthood. As she has grown up and matured her looks improved but she still had a receding chin and a rather “gummy” smile. With the plastic surgery that was performed, she successfully moved herself a standard deviation in the right direction of the bell curve. Her features look much more proportional and most would agree that she looked very pretty in her wedding photos.
So what does this have to do with the big picture? One of my staff members recently told me that before she started working for me she thought that plastic surgery was about bringing in a photo of your favorite movie star and having the surgeon make you look like that. That is absolutely not what plastic surgery is about. Plastic surgery is about restoring or improving balance, symmetry and aesthetic beauty. Like Chelsea Clinton, it is about fixing just a few of those little things that tend to make a positive difference. It’s about optimizing the attractive features that you have and balancing the rest. That is good plastic surgery. It worked for Chelsea Clinton!