As I wrote about in my most recent blog post, “Six Celebrities Who’ve Admitted to Having Plastic Surgery…And A
re Not Ashamed of It!”, some celebrities have opened up about having cosmetic procedures, but there are many more who haven’t. Celebrities are always in the public eye and therefore expected to maintain a certain image and always look their best. Their fans often idolize them, placing them on a pedestal like gods and goddesses so that their humanity is almost incomprehensible. They can’t even go anywhere without makeup without the possibility of running into paparazzi and having an un-glamorous photo make the cover of the tabloids. Yet, despite this obvious fact, so many of them have received criticism and backlash from fans for their decisions to alter their appearance.

I was intrigued by this topic when I came across an article from Forbes about the actress Kaley Cuoco’s admittance to having plastic surgery. Cuoco, best known for her character Penny on the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, opened up to her fans in an interview for Women’s Health, stating, “Years, ago I had my nose done. And my boobs. Best decision I ever made.”

Forbes questions why, when plastic surgery is such a common solution for correcting human imperfections, there is such a stigma behind it. “With plastic surgery becoming increasingly common, why aren’t more people willing to admit to ‘getting some work done’ (which makes it sounds like they brought their laptop home or fixed the roof on their house),” questions Forbes. According to research from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, from 2000 to 2015, the number of cosmetic procedures (including both plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures) per year in the U.S. increased from 7.4 million to 15.9 million, which comes out to about one procedure for every 16 adults in the United States. “  As a researcher of plastic surgery, I too, would like to know the answer to this question, and find a solution to it.

Cuoco, in coming out about her plastic surgery, does not represent the norm in Hollywood. While it’s so obvious that many celebrities have had work done (and the tabloids leap at the chance to dig up whatever dirt they can in this regard), many continue to deny the rumors, presumably because of the backlash they’ll face.

Take Renee Zellweger, for instance. The celebrity, known for her on-screen character Bridget Jones, has received some criticism in the media of late for suddenly looking strikingly different than she did just a few years ago. The celebrity had been mostly off-the-radar until coming back into the spotlight with her new film, Bridget Jones’s Baby, and many took note of her drastically changed appearance, speculating plastic surgery. Zellweger has vehemently denied these speculations, but her denial causes perhaps even more of an uproar. Her criticism on social media has been particularly cruel. Take some of these tweets, for instance:

These examples just goes to show the stigma of plastic surgery and explains how some celebrities will go to great lengths to keep their cosmetic work a secret. Celebrities like Renee Zellweger receive backlash even when denying the rumors, and I think we can all agree that whether they’re true or not, we clearly live in a society where people are made to feel ashamed for their decision to have plastic surgery, and that ideology needs to change.