Summary: When you stop and think about it, we don’t really know what it is about “youth” that captures us so. I mean, yes, there’s smooth skin and toned bodies—but why do we make youth such a focus of our lives? One answer might be that youth provides a certain amount of visibility. Luckily, plastic surgery can help you maintain that visibility.
Youthful Visibility with Plastic Surgery
It’s no secret that we live in a society that worships at the altar of youth. We like young people. It’s something author PD James wrote about obliquely in her novel, Children of Men. It’s also something you see quite often on advertisements and billboards: youth is used to sell product.
In a way, that makes youth more visible. You’re trained by these advertisements, from a very young age, then when somebody who is youthful and attractive is doing something, you should pay attention. (I know, I know, we all fast forward past the ads these days, but that’s a different conversation.)
But this is certainly affecting a lot of people. In fact, according to a recent article from the Washington Post, older patients are getting plastic surgery more often in order to appear more “visible.”
Let’s take a look at what that actually means.
Defining What Visibility Means
In many ways, visibility is about access and about acknowledgment. In order to access various aspects of our society, you must first be noticed (or, at least, noticeable). This could have a dramatic impact in several key areas of one’s life:
- Professional: Getting a job is tough these days. But it’s even tougher if you’re above a certain age. Even though age discrimination is technically illegal it can be very difficult to prove. Appearing younger is a way to get your foot in the door, to help yourself ensure professional prosperity (this isn’t a value judgment, by the way, just a reflection of where I think things stand today).
- Socially: Making friends or finding a date can also be quite challenging when people don’t give you a second look. We tend to make certain assumptions about older people and their habits, most of which are based on stereotypes (for example, there are plenty of older folks with vibrant social lives). In any case, these types of social interactions (especially among new people) are much easier when you’re a bit more “visible.”
- Access: The older you get, the more you tend to rely on various bureaucratic infrastructures—whether they’re private or public. Navigating those bureaucracies can be challenging when they won’t stop to give you the time of day. Being “visible” helps you get access to these systems where otherwise you might not.
To be sure, youth is not a direct causation of “visibility.” But in a society that is structured up and down to prioritize youth, it certainly helps.
How Plastic Surgery Can Help You Be Visible
So if you’re currently seeing more wrinkles than you’d like and you want to remain youthful and “visible,” what can you do? Well, there are several options you have:
- Facelift: Perhaps the most powerful option for patients is a facelift procedure. If you have a lot of excess skin and a great many wrinkles, a facelift can address all of those issues at once. This procedure is renowned for making your entire face look more youthful. According to the website of the New Jersey facelift surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, recovery can last several weeks. But once the swelling goes down, your skin will look young and smooth.
- Injectables: It could be that the wrinkles and lines you have don’t really necessitate surgery. In that case, you might want to think about injectables, such as Botox or a dermal filler (like Juvederm). Injectables are a great way to make your skin look more youthful (by eliminating those lines and wrinkles). The only downside to injectables is that they are usually only temporary. If you want lasting results, you’ll have to get maintenance injections every few months. Then again, many patients prefer it that way!
Not All About Looks
To be sure, if you want to be “visible” (being invisible can suck) there are plenty of ways to do it. In many cases, it could involve changing your wardrobe before changing your face. I’m not trying to suggest that plastic surgery is for everybody.
However, for those who feel held back by the way others view their lines and wrinkles—by the way others view their age—plastic surgery might be a viable option.
If you want to use plastic surgery as a way to regain your agency, as a way to make yourself visible again, the first stop is at your plastic surgeon’s office. During any consultation, you’ll talk about your goals and the best way to achieve them—including whether or not you’re healthy enough for surgery. But it all starts with that conversation.