The role of plastic surgery in politics

July 18, 2013

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Michele Willens discusses women in politics and the stigma behind plastic surgery.
In a recent article in The Atlantic, Michele Willens discusses women in politics and the stigma behind plastic surgery.

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Michele Willens discusses women in politics and the stigma behind plastic surgery. You have probably heard the rumors that Hillary Clinton is planning a presidential run in 2016. Having been a first lady, a senator, secretary of state and nearly winning the democratic nomination in 2008, Clinton may be the most prominent female politician in U.S. history. But her elevated status hasn't kept her from being scrutinized by the media concerning her looks.

Is it fair?
Women in the media spotlight - including politicians - can't avoid having their appearance assessed and analyzed from every angle. It's not surprising, therefore, that some media outlets and pundits have suggested that Clinton should undergo plastic surgery to reduce her visible signs of aging. Though she identifies as a feminist, Willens admits that she has had thoughts about Clinton's appearance.

"When the Secretary of State stepped down after four grueling years, I wished she would get thee to a spa and move in for four months," she wrote. Unfortunately, these kinds of thoughts seem to more frequently be applied to women in politics, rather than men. While people may comment on the fact that Barack Obama's hair has gotten grayer, you don't hear many news organizations suggesting that the commander in chief get Botox injections or a neck lift.

Willens goes on to discuss the role of plastic surgery in politics. If Clinton has sought the services of an aesthetic plastic surgeon, she isn't the only first lady to have done so. According to Willens, more than thirty years ago Betty Ford announced that she had gotten a facelift, saying she wanted "a fresh new face to go with my beautiful new life."

Coming forward to erase the stigma
Over the years, more and more prominent figures have come forward to discuss their choice to go under the knife. Betty Ford was an early pioneer in this sense, but many stars today, including Nicole Kidman and Jane Fonda, have come clean about their visits to plastic surgery clinics.

Willens argues that if more stars and politicians came forward, people would begin to realize that plastic surgery isn't only about improving your looks, but rather about making you feel better about yourself.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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