OPINION: Gypsy Rose Blanchard and The Psychology of Beauty

Gypsy Rose Blanchard has reportedly sought to reinvent herself with a rhinoplasty after her release from prison. This decision is seen as a crucial step towards reclaiming her identity and autonomy, which were manipulated and controlled for years. She is considered a suitable candidate for rhinoplasty. If Onur Gilleard were to perform her rhinoplasty, he would remove the dorsal hump, create more symmetry and narrowness in her nasal bones, refine her nasal tip, making it smaller and more defined, and lift her nasal tip to reduce its droopiness. For Gypsy Rose, rhinoplasty represents more than just a cosmetic enhancement; it symbolizes a fresh start and a desire to present herself to the world on her own terms. This transformative act is a reflection of her journey towards healing, self-acceptance, and developing a new identity untainted by her past traumas.

There is an increasing trend toward specific facial features associated with youthfulness and attractiveness. These typically include almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, a small upturned nose, pouty lips, and a defined jawline. The popularity of these features likely stems from a mix of cultural beliefs about beauty, bolstered by traditional media and, more recently, social media platforms. High cheekbones and a defined jawline, for example, are often regarded as classic hallmarks of beauty, while almond-shaped eyes are considered exotic. A small upturned nose and full lips are generally associated with youth, femininity, and sensuality.

In response to these beauty trends, people are increasingly turning to cosmetic surgery. Canthopexy, also known as "fox-eye surgery," involves lifting the outer corners of the eyes to create a more elongated, cat-like shape. Rhinoplasty is a popular choice to reduce or reshape the nose. Pouty lips can be achieved through lip lift surgery, cheekbone definition can be increased by buccal fat excision, and jawline definition might require jaw repositioning or the use of implants. For those seeking less permanent solutions, fillers can offer a temporary boost to cheekbones and jawlines.

However, our perception of our own facial features can be distorted. Smartphone cameras, like those on iPhones and Android devices, often use wide-angle lenses, leading to "barrel distortion," which makes objects in the center or closer to the lens appear elongated. This effect can cause the nose to look larger, the eyes to seem smaller, and the face to appear narrower, leading to a skewed self-image. Comparing these distorted selfies to airbrushed photos taken by professional photographers or those manipulated with editing apps can exacerbate negative self-perceptions. It's crucial to approach beauty trends with a balanced perspective, acknowledging that these distortions may not reflect reality.

As a plastic surgeon, Onur emphasizes the importance of being aware of traditional beauty standards like facial symmetry and the ratios and angles that define perfect facial features. However, recent insights from psychology and evolutionary biology indicate that our flaws or imperfections can significantly enhance our unique attractiveness. While symmetry and classic beauty traits are often celebrated and desired, it's usually the subtle deviations that make a face memorable and deeply engaging.

This concept, based in evolutionary psychology, suggests that minor deviations can be seen as markers of genetic diversity, beneficial for the species by enriching the gene pool. Additionally, in today's era of easy photo editing and accessible plastic surgery, there's an increasing appreciation for authenticity over perfection. This cultural shift embraces the beauty found in imperfections, suggesting a broader societal recognition of the value of individual uniqueness. As a plastic surgeon, Onur finds himself embracing this perspective more and more.

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It's given me just so much more confidence and really improved my self-esteem. It's not something that I worry about anymore. It's improved my social life because I don't really say no to things that would have made me a bit uncomfortable before, and I like being in pictures.