13 May 2015
ON BEING A FEMALE PLASTIC SURGEON
Roughly most of plastic surgery patients are female and 90% of plastic surgeons are male, and every once in a while, the subject of my gender comes up. Female plastic surgeon. My typical response is to deny the role of gender. I worked hard all those years to prove that my gender was not relevant…why make it relevant now? That would be both unethical and against everything I struggled for during my education. The fact is, none of us truly believe that men and women walk through life with the same perspective.
I happen to be a huge fan of the male gender. I think a lot of my life I have tried to emulate their self confidence and their success in the workplace. I enjoy male friendship and admire their ability to be so forgiving of their own flaws and so much less critical of women than we are of ourselves. Having said all that, men might not really understand a few things. How is it that no matter what you weigh, you can feel overweight? How does it feel to try on 20 pairs of jeans and have none of them fit? How does it feel to constantly have your bra strap either digging into your shoulder or falling off your shoulder. Loose shirts? Tight shirts? Skin rolls? Stretch marks? Bad hair day? Men might scratch their heads, but most women can relate.
It is interesting and sometimes frankly depressing to sit in the audience of one of our large aesthetic surgery conventions and hear the mostly male voices discussing every millimeter and nuance of every flaw of the female body and face. If you didn’t already know this, we are “objet’s d’art.” Please enjoy a quote from Matt Tyrnauer’s great documentary about the fashion designer Valentino:
Yes women want to be beautiful. The fact is, by the time we learn to appreciate what God gave us, we are in the process of losing it. It’s a terrible irony that by the time we are starting to feel good in our own skin, our skin is failing us. Our curves make us beautiful, but curves can make things hard in the wardrobe department, especially when those same curves start to flatten and fall. I also notice gender inequity in the way aging enhances the appearance of men as the jaw becomes heavier and more square, more handsome. Women also take on a masculine look with age, putting us on an opposite trajectory. I propose that women deserve a boost/tuck/fill/buff of some kind to even the playing field without being accused of some kind of vanity crisis.
I love to hear quotes from famous young actresses bragging about how natural they are and how opposed they are to plastic surgery!! First off, most of them forgot they have already had rhinoplasty, breast implants, and botox? I guess they are just talking about the dreaded facelift procedure (my personal favorite), which they are not planning to have because, oh by the way, they are only 30!!! They have personal trainers, private chefs, custom couture, in home coiffeurs. Why would they ever have any “work done?” I request, however, that no one make declarative statements about situations they know nothing of. Try losing 100 pounds, try having twins, try being born with DDD or not even A breasts, try having crow’s feet, turkey neck, muffin top, cankles or a weak chin?!!! Did you have braces? The most impressive thing I have ever seen was Shania Twain’s before after dental work. Now the world can safely focus on how impressively gorgeous she is without the unfortunate jagged, missing, and extra teeth.
What is it like to be a female plastic surgeon? Well it’s a lot like being a plastic surgeon who sees herself in every patient. I look at women who find fault with themselves as a vulnerable group, but not irrational or crazy. If you look angry or tired or just not like yourself anymore, treat yourself to a high quality, guilt free, restorative facelift. Don’t let Halle Berry or Jennifer Aniston or your next door neighbor tell you it’s wrong, vain, or sign of weakness. Women are a critical group, and I am reminded every day that we could all be a little nicer to ourselves and everyone around us. Being a woman and taking care of them is a lot of work and a lot of fun. Female plastic surgeon?…great job.