For better or worse, plastic surgery—both in its most extreme (Jocelyn Wildenstein) and subtler (Megan Fox) forms—is fully entrenched in modern day society. In fact, Botox gatherings have replaced Tupperware parties, celebrities flaunt face-lifts on the red carpet and it’s become downright acceptable in plenty of circles. But no matter how you feel about plastic surgery, a recent paper that appeared in the Journal of Evolution and Technology brings up an angle we hadn’t considered. Reports The New York Times today:
…the doctoral candidate says plastic surgery throws a monkey wrench (sorry) into the Darwinian process of selecting the best genes to proliferate the species — since people who otherwise might not have been perceived as desirable mates for procreation allow themselves to be perceived as desirable enough to pass on their genes.
Let’s take a closer look.Of course, before everyone had a boob job, the more benign question might have been, is wearing a Wonderbra dishonest in terms of attracting a potential mate? But unlike the inevitable removal of lingerie, no one has to disclose a brow lift or synthetically-pillow-y lips, if they don’t want to. Fair enough. But let’s not ignore the real (and somewhat infuriating) elephant in the room here: Clearly, this is an ethical issue that lays squarely on women’s shoulders. After all, it’s common knowledge that the percentage of females getting plastic surgery is much higher than among men. (According to recent American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery statistics, women had 92 percent of all cosmetic procedures.) The message here is clear and it is threatening: We know you’re cheating ladies, and if you don’t disclose this (arguably?) personal information, you are a liar and you will be held accountable when our babies are uglier than we expected.
So I guess the question is, is it deceitful to subconsciously convey the idea that you’ll pass on thin thigh-ed genetics to your unborn children after you’ve gotten liposuction? And if you don’t disclose alterations, is it tantamount to hiding an STD? Could one simply argue that we have evolved far enough as a species to put far less emphasis on physicality than ever before, while at the same time, there is more emphasis on modified appearances than ever? Most of all, should we draft a new social contract in agreement that women (and the odd man with the Botox or calf lift), confess any and all procedures on the first date? It’s quite the conundrum.