A newly published UK survey has put a spotlight on the disparity between the reasons American and British women get cosmetic surgery. While American women said they chose to get surgery to please themselves, a significant number of the British women interviewed said they got surgery to impress a husband or boyfriend.
Sociologist Debra Gimlin recalled some of the conversations she had with British patients, including one 39-year-old who had gotten a tummy tuck: “She said it wouldn’t have entered her mind otherwise, but after she’d had her second child her husband said, ‘I love the wee ones but I wish having them hadn’t ruined your figure.’” Another interviewee got breast implants because she felt her love was unrequited and that getting surgery would help the relationship.
British women are more likely to feel ashamed of their choice to get plastic surgery and keep it a secret from their family and friends, whereas American women often see their surgery as an investment they’ve earned. Grimlin believes that the differences in our healthcare systems may account for the differences in our attitudes-the US has a privatized system, and the UK has national healthcare.
Regarding an American interviewee, Gimlin recalls, “One 50-year-old told me that while there were things her house needed she felt she needed a facelift more than it did.”
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