dissertation draft 1 ethics

dissertation draft 1 ethics - A study of the marketing of...

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A study of the marketing of cosmetic surgery and the ethics involved What is cosmetic surgery? Cosmetic surgery is that which has been undertaken primarily to improve or restore an individual’s appearance. Cosmetic surgery has become more accessible with the improvement and development of medico-technical possibilities to change physical appearance permanently. But such services would hardly have been developed independent of demand (Askegaard: 2002: p793). Plastic surgery is unarguably becoming more popular in the UK. A total of 16,367 people underwent cosmetic operations in 2004 performed by members of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (BAAPS) up from 10,738 in 2003 and this demand is rising. The above figures are actually likely to be far higher as many practitioners are not members of the BAAPS, in fact, ITV claim that in the UK last year over 65,000 underwent cosmetic procedures. Why this increase in demand? It could be argued that consumers have higher disposable incomes and consequently more money to spend on luxuries like cosmetic surgery. Also, cosmetic surgery has become more affordable. Alan Matarasso, one of Americas leading plastic surgeons says: ‘10 years ago you could reconstruct a woman’s breasts for $12,000, now it can be done for $600.’ Drooping prices have helped move the demand for cosmetic surgery into the mainstream (Economist: 71). More practitioners have qualified having seen the demand in the market and medical technology is constantly advancing creating safer and cheaper ways to operate. Lower risks equal higher demand and lower costs allow lower prices. Primarily though, cosmetic surgery has thrived to be a $160 billion dollar a year industry due to the increased importance of a positive self-image. The media constantly offer and advertise the latest ‘body’ as a consumable and attainable asset and this has subsequently led to the mass expansion of the cosmetic surgery industry (reference required!). The Economist states that ‘an industry driven by sexual instinct will always thrive’ (2003) and it cannot be denied that to make a person more attractive through cosmetic surgery is to make them more desirable to the opposite sex. Medieval noblewomen swallowed arsenic and dabbed on bats blood to improve their complexions whilst 18 th century Americans prized the warm urine of young boys to erase their freckles. The desire to be beautiful is as old as civilisation and women particularly have not been afraid of pain to achieve it. In his autobiography, Charles Darwin noted a universal passion for adomment often involving ‘wonderfully great’ suffering (Economist: 2003). Consumers of today however, seek beauty in a more conventional way. We are bombarded with images of the ‘body ideal’ and it is implied through the media and advertising that this is what we should all aspire to be. Stick thin models gaze down from billboards whilst oversized breasts distract us from the road and beautiful
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dissertation draft 1 ethics - A study of the marketing of...

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