Plastic Surgery Doesn’t Work — but Neither Does Our Standard of Beauty

Rightly observed by Anna Holmes.


For a long time, I didn’t quite “get” plastic surgery. Well, I got it, but I rejected it because, in my mind, cosmetic intervention was so offensive a technological advance, so damning a commentary on individual vanity and collective insecurity, that it was deserving of my total and blithe dismissal, even contempt. Plastic surgeons and their patients were an alien species to be kept at arm’s length: curiosities to be regarded with confusion, amusement and more than a little pity.

That was then and this is now, and now is my fourth decade of existence, which means that I’m all too understanding of the fact that life — and our ideas of how we interact with and move about in the world — are a lot more complicated. So I read with interest the news that a study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (

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