Mass Media and the Increasing Acceptance of Cosmetic Surgery: A Textual Analysis

We have all with out a doubt been subjected to the the circulation of rumours surrounding Kylie Jenner’s lips. Are they real? Did she have them cosmetically enhanced? Or does Kylie simply just use a really good makeup technique to overdraw them? While the debate is an ongoing battle in the entertainment world, there is a bigger issue at hand. Does the media influence an individual’s stance on cosmetic surgery, and how does the media alter perceptions of beauty as a result?

Kylie's Lips are a Global Debate, But What Does This Mean for Our Beauty Standards?

Kylie’s Lips are a Global Debate, But What Does This Mean for Our Beauty Standards?

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The links between the mass media and cosmetic surgery are explored in the journal article ‘Cut Me A Break! Effects of Media and Social Pressure on Behavioural Intentions to Get Cosmetic Surgery’. The article aims to explain the way in which the media serves to influence individuals and the wider global community and also examines the effects this influential body has on personal experience and understandings of the self. The authors, Maxim Polonsky, Selcuk Acar and Joseph Gregov provide not just an insight into the media effects theory, but also provide an account of psychological concerns and interpretations of the issue at hand.


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By analysing behavioural intent, body image and the rising popularity of cosmetic surgery the text is aimed primarily at researchers, academics and learning enthusiasts. By including a varied employment of graphs and coding techniques, Polonsky, Acar and Gregov highlight the intended audience and aid them in coming to a sound conclusion. The clear and concise arguments provided in the research journal moreover allow for an ease of accessibility and understanding. By combining this with a logical layout and style, relevant sources and an immense amount of research, the journal article effectively communicates its intentions and allows the reader to draw a deeper understanding of media effects with specific regard to the cosmetic industry.

But what about Kylie Jenner’s lips? And the overall media influence on the perceptions of cosmetic surgery? Well, according to Polonsky, Acar and Gregov,“cosmetic surgery practices have increased 444 percent since 1997 with Americans spending approximately $12.4 billion on plastic surgery in 2005” (Polonsky, Acar & Gregov, 2007, p.3). They suggest that the media has had an ubiquitous hand in the escalating stats regarding cosmetic surgery and moreover propose that as a result, perceptions of the self and experiences of body image are altered extremely.

Top cosmetic surgery procedures 2013

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The authors concede that “entertainment media exposure had an impact on national social norms regarding surgical procedures and on the behavioral intention: the more media an individual consumed, the more she was likely to overestimate surgery behaviors nationally, and intend to undergo cosmetic surgery” (Polonsky, Acar & Gregov, 2007, p.14). By being exposed to a normalised standard of behaviour and expectations of beauty, an individual understanding of what is socially sufficient when regarding beauty is redefined.

In a world where the mass media has a wide-reaching influence in the day-to-day lives of individuals in a globalised community, the effects it has on personal experience and understandings of beauty need to be addressed. This is what Polonsky, Acar and Gregov pursue in their journal article. So, by seeing the speculation around Kylie Jenner’s infamous lips, and by being exposed to entertainment news and gossip tabloids that are infatuated with this conjecture, do you feel more accepting of cosmetic surgery? Would you yourself consider going under the knife?



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