No matter your age or gender, chances are you have insecurities about your body. Particularly in Las Vegas, where the entertainment industry reigns supreme, lots of women choose to go under the knife in order to preserve their youth or enhance their beauty.
“We put up this goal of what we’re all supposed to look like,” says Las Vegas author Deborah Coonts, who says she’s considered cosmetic surgery. “It’s fed to us through the media.”
Coonts says she started to consider plastic surgery after she turned 50. When asked what she sees when she looks in the mirror, she says: “I don’t see myself anymore.”
“The exterior no longer matches what you feel inside,” she says, adding she feels just as energetic as she did when she was 20.
Dr. Frank Stile, a plastic surgeon in Las Vegas, says that he sees women come into his office for a wide variety of services. Younger women, he says, tend to be looking for breast augmentation or tummy tucks. Older women tend to want facial resurfacing or lifts.
“Las Vegas is representative of most of the country, but here it’s more out in the open,” he says. “The impact it has on our younger citizens is more acute.”
Stile says he gets plenty of men and women who come into his office wanting things that are simply unachievable or dangerous. Recently, he says, a woman who had already had two facelifts came in wanting to fix some sagging on her chin. He turned her away. It would’ve been dangerous, he says, and he just didn’t see the need.
“We look in the mirror together and we go over things systematically, ” Stile says of the initial consultation he has with patients. “If I don’t agree, I’ll say ‘I really don’t see that.’ Sometimes it’s met with dissatisfaction. Sometimes a little hostility—that’s a red flag.”
“They’ll eventually find someone who will operate on them,” he says. “The results can be disastrous.”
UNLV Psychology Professor Cortney Warren says that it’s Las Vegas’ looks-centric culture that pushes many women to consider plastic surgery.
“If you’re not a good looking woman, you’re not as valuable,” she says. “You can’t be nice enough or smart enough to overcome that.”
This is dangerous, particularly for Las Vegas’ adolescents, Warren says. No one is ever going to look exactly like the bikini-clad, photo-shopped girls on those billboards, she says, but many are sure as hell going to try.
“They’re all trying to be ideals of beauty that we promote as a culture,” and that’s blonde, thin, tall and white, Warren says.
Jennifer, a listener who asked we not use her real name, says she debated for 12 years before opting to get a neck lift last week. She says it was an amazing decision, despite her fear of needles and surgery.
“When I saw the sagging neck I would just sit and cry,” she says. ““If it makes you feel good and you look good, then I think you should do it.” She did it for herself, she says. Who wouldn’t be happy with that?
And for those young nay-sayers, who say they’ll never consider surgery, Coonts has some choice words:
“Just wait,” she says. “Getting old is not for sissies."