Summary: We have a certain amount of anonymity we take for granted. For example, if you were to stroll in and see your Ridgewood, NJ, facelift surgeon, no one would be any the wiser. Maybe a few people at work would ask about your make-up regimen, but nothing too extreme. That’s not the case for celebrities, who are constantly assaulted with questions about plastic surgery they may or may not have had performed, not to mention the legion of plastic surgery experts who are only too happy to lend an opinion on whether or not someone may have had plastic surgery. Let’s take a look at whether this is a good system or not.

You Visit Your Ridgewood, NJ, Facelift Surgeon and No One Knows

When you walk into a kitchen at a party or a conference room at a job interview, you’re not expected to announce to everyone present (and the world) that you’ve had plastic surgery. True, there may be subtle markers that people can pick up on and maybe form some suspicions. But plastic surgery today is so good at hiding the work that suspicions are all they’ll ever be. Unless we announce it or confirm it, the closest our work place will come to knowing our plastic surgery is rumor. Of course, sometimes that’s reason enough for us to confirm the work we’ve had done. The point, however, is that we have the luxury of undergoing plastic surgery transformations in relative anonymity. That’s not true for everyone—and it’s certainly not true of celebrities.

Because we love celebrity plastic surgery news. And what’s not to love. When a star goes under the knife and comes out looking great, it’s a sign of that star’s longevity—they’re going to be with us for years to come. And it’s also indicative of the fact that we can get that look too. In this way, celebrity plastic surgery can be quite encouraging: it gives us something to strive to and, in most cases, a realistic goal to set for our own plastic surgeries. When celebrity plastic surgery goes awry, as it only rarely does, well, we can be honest and admit sometimes there’s some morbid curiosity involved. In a way, we all like to watch a car crash or a house burn down.

We Follow Celebrities

When celebrities are open about their plastic surgery, it’s easy to take joy in their successes and failures. But things get a little more problematic when we’re dealing only with rumor and innuendo. This is the case currently with a wide variety of celebrities throughout 2014 and, likely, into 2015. This is the situation that celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner constantly find themselves in. What seems slightly more disturbing is the frequency with which plastic surgery experts (often plastic surgeons) are trotted out to analyze the body of one of these celebrities and offer an opinion on which procedures may have been performed based on any number of anatomical changes from photograph to photograph.

This raises a question worth discussing: do celebrities have an obligation to disclose their plastic surgery status? And, if not, do we have an obligation to ignore plastic surgery rumors? I suppose we should answer that second question first, as it’s a pretty simple and straightforward question to answer: we’re never going to stop pursuing plastic surgery rumors when it comes to celebrities. For whatever reason, this seems pretty ingrained in our human nature, and so long as there’s a demand for those juicy and salacious rumors, there will be a supply. I personally think these rumors—or, rather, the desire to know—comes from a place of comparison. That is, I think people want celebrities to get plastic surgery because with it comes the message that having a “celebrity”-type body isn’t necessarily natural—and that the pressure to look naturally beauty can perhaps be diminished because of that.

Celebrities and Honesty About Plastic Surgery

But that doesn’t make it any easier on the celebrities, of course. And that brings us to the first question we asked: do celebrities have an obligation to be open and honest about their plastic surgery? On the one hand, of course they don’t—they’re people and just as you or I, they have a right to privacy. On the other hand, celebrities are most definitely role models. They have a lot of influence not only on how people look and behave, but on how people want to look and behave. This means that, in a way, by not being honest about their plastic surgery, they’re presenting a false ideal. They’re saying, “you should want to look like me,” but what they’re presenting isn’t a possibility without plastic surgery.

So, men and women try to do all kinds of crazy things to look like celebrities—go on all sorts of crazy fad diets—in what is ultimately a futile effort, because even the celebrity couldn’t achieve that celebrity’s look without plastic surgery. Granted, many people attempt to use plastic surgery to look like celebrities regardless.

Separate the Person and Persona

In the end, it seems like what this comes down to is our ability to separate the celebrity from the person—the persona from the human being. Because plastic surgery or not, celebrities can wield tremendous influence in terms of the popularity of certain appearances and styles. Sometimes that persona relies on a certain amount of Hollywood mystique—the did she or didn’t she—that we all sometimes rely on as well. We need to respect the privacy of everyone, from us to celebrities, and hope that those celebrities aren’t sending an irresponsible message (or, at least, be prepared to delete any such irresponsible message).

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