I never bought into the supposed glamour of plastic surgery despite the abundance of advertising to that effect. Rather, I feel glamour is more often intended to be associated with plastic surgeons themselves in advertising.
Virginia Postrel, a cultural writer, argues in her wonderful book The Power of Glamour that glamour “offers the implicit promise of a life devoid of mediocrity” and is “an illusion known to be false but felt to be true.” Facial plastic surgery is, by definition, not an illusion. It does not provide escape but can facilitate engagement with the world on your own terms and with confidence. Ms. Postrel also states that, unlike luxury, glamour is not something money can buy. That is not the case with facial plastic surgery.
But there is one quote from Ms. Postrel’s book about the concept of glamour that I do think defines a great deal of plastic surgery marketing: “bring out the best, conceal the worst, and leave something to the imagination.” The scenes of a plastic surgeon standing next to a private jet in a suit or driving a luxury car with aviators on is meant to glamorize the life of the plastic surgeon, not the client. However, this life, as Virginia Postrel states, is “an illusion known to be false but felt to be true.”
The truth is, we as plastic surgeons spend our 20s and early 30s working very hard for long hours in order to gain the experience and skills to safely and effectively take care of patients. Many of us have families with children. We deal with the exact same challenges and experience the exact same joys as our patients. We simply have the education and training to provide them a specialized service that few people can offer.