Michelle Obama Won’t Rule Out Plastic Surgery, Botox
Several headlines from major news outlets including ABC and CBS this week proclaimed “Michelle Obama Not Ruling Out Plastic Surgery, Botox.” The headline was pulled from an interview Mrs. Obama gave to People magazine regarding her 50th birthday in which she said “never say never” when asked about plastic surgery and Botox. She shared a number of other thoughts about turning fifty, but this particular sound byte proved most interesting to the mainstream media.
I wondered why, of all the things she said, an offhand comment about not ruling out plastic surgery got so much traction. Cosmetic surgery is far more prevalent and public now than it was even a decade ago. Public figures routinely discuss personal experiences with plastic surgery, yet Mrs. Obama’s admission of “not ruling out” aesthetic surgery was surprising enough to generate a news story.
I think the media’s reaction is a direct result of the way America sees Michelle Obama. Her mission as first lady is to eliminate childhood obesity in one generation. Her “Let’s Move” campaign focuses on lifestyle changes like improved nutrition and physical activity. Perhaps because of her stance on these issues, the public expects her to reject any treatment that might be seen as “unnatural.”
It’s no secret that we place a high value on beauty and youth, but the reaction to Mrs. Obama’s comment reveals that society is deeply ambivalent about discussing it openly. What do you think? Is Michelle Obama’s attitude about plastic surgery in line with her public image?