Women having cosmetic surgery deny vanity

Many women having cosmetic surgery believe it is other people having work done who are motivated by vanity and not themselves, a study reveals.

Dr Debra Gimlin, a sociologist at the University of Aberdeen, spoke to 80 women aged from 20-70.

Half the sample was from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol, and the other 40 women were Americans.

Dr Gimlin said more than half the women had created the notion of a ‘surgical other’ they distanced themselves from.

These were women they saw as going ahead with surgery with little consideration of its risks, had unreasonable expectations of its effects, and were obsessed with their appearance.

More than 50 of the women said this was not them, instead saying they only wanted a natural look from cosmetic surgery.

Dr Gimlin said that British women tended to see the ‘surgical other’ as living in America, and the Americans – who lived in Florida – saw the ‘surgical other’ as living in Hollywood.

Dr Gimlin said: ‘Respondents from both countries characterised the surgical other as being motivated by vanity rather than need.’

Dr Gimlin was presenting her findings to the British Sociological Association’s medical sociology conference in Durham on Thursday.

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