Photo from https://www.instagram.com/samsmith/
I love seeing posts like the one Sam Smith recently posted on Instagram showing him standing topless on a beach.
The standard Instagram photo of a man topless on a beach show him with a chiselled six-pack and rock-hard pecs, but this simply is not what normal male chests look like.
Sam Smith looks great, but he is actually pointing out that it was difficult for him to post the photo because it does not look like the physique of a male model.
I think most men would be proud to have a chest and abdomen like his, but his point is well made.
It has become so mainstream to see these images, men and women with impossibly toned bodies and sometimes quite frankly ridiculous muscle definition, that we feel that we cannot be proud of our normal bodies.
I think the danger with saturating the media with these abnormal images of men and women, is that people tend to think that is what a body looks like.
I am in a very privileged position in my job that I see men and women of all shapes and sizes with their clothes off, and I am here to tell you that what you might think is a normal body is not.
In fact, the photo of Sam Smith where he makes references to his curves, to me looks like quite a slim and svelte physique.
The normal body has rolls and folds, asymmetries and blemishes.
You might say that as a plastic surgeon I make a living from people’s insecurities with their figure and so I should be happy when someone comes to me to request a change, but I am not.
Yes, I am a plastic surgeon, but I am also a normal human being with a family and young children.
I do not want to live in a society where people have an unhealthy image of themselves and are sad and embarrassed about perceived imperfections, when the reality is that asymmetry is the norm.
It is not uncommon to have a roll here or a bulge there.
I would love for us to be more at peace with our bodies and the more celebrities we look up to and perceive to be perfect who are not afraid to show us themselves, warts and all, the more we can get away from the unhealthy image of the body.
Our clinic strapline is ‘everyone deserves body confidence’ and I would like to be part of the movement to empower people to realise how beautiful they are.
There is a quote from St Augustine from 399AD:
People travel to wonder at the height of mountains
…at the huge waves of the sea
¦at the long courses of rivers
…at the vast compass of the ocean
…at the circular motion of the stars
¦and they pass by themselves without wondering
There is definitely a powerful emotional and psychological element that people like Sam Smith, Jess Glynne, Anne-Marie, Keira Knightly and Loose Women, have all done their bit to dispel the myths around body image.
I have a 13 year old daughter and I would hate to think that she would feel in any way unhappy about herself, but I see the pressure young people are put under.
I have no wish to be part of the problem and I know critics would say that plastic surgery helps to propagate these myths, but in my practice I really want to help.
I do think that we can be a force for good and certainly when patients have significant asymmetry or bodies that are out of proportion, we can help to bring things back into line and give back body confidence.
We see it every day.
I know the media would have us believe that plastic surgeons are only about overly inflating the boobs or hollowing out the face, but that is not our reality.
We work with a psychologist because we want to do what is right for the patient.
I want to be part of a more ethical and responsible face of plastic and cosmetic surgery because it has had a bad image for far too long.
I know that we can be a tremendous force for good and the right operation performed by the right surgeon on the right patient can transform their lives.