Body modification for aesthetic augmentation has been an established practice for many years around the world. From lip plates in Ethiopian cattle herding tribes to lip piercings on the streets of Chelmsford, the results desired from improving ones appearance are all the same; to be more attractive. Every culture has a different idea about what being attractive actually is, and while western men would find the lip plates of the Ethiopian Omo Tribe less than appealing, the tribesmen of the Omo Tribe would find western breast augmentation just as unattractive. Where, in that case, does the procedure of hair transplant lie? Hair is a natural part of the human make-up and restoring fading locks to their former glory is not necessarily modification but does that mean that hair is universally appealing?
The first argument in this discussion would be that there are a good few million women who spend a lot of their money as well as their time removing unwanted bodily hair, in the west at least. Ironically in this desire to be free from bodily hair, there is an unfettered determination to achieve a thick head of hair. This may be because having healthy hair is a sign of vitality and fertility. There was a time when bodily hair was perceived as being a man’s sign of virility and masculinity, but this too has become somewhat of a taboo. In both instances it has been the persuasive powers of the media that has informed the aesthetic desires in western culture.
You may be familiar with calls for action against the stereotypical portrayal of women in the media as being a size 0 with triple E breast and trout pout lips, but recently the emphasis has been more on encouraging the men to spend their money on personal products and body enhancement. It seems almost as if the media and cosmetics industry has gone as far as it can with women. Recent launches of women’s products seem to be ever more convoluted; products such as under eyeball caffeine sticks and shimmering under arm deodorant are taking personal appearance a step too far.
Men on the other hand have not been targeted to such a degree. It is not just hair transplant procedures for men with receding hair lines that are on the list. Men are also being encouraged to sculpt their bodies into an unnatural faux body builder shape, become free of bodily hair, sport designer stubble and have a St. Tropez tan. What the cosmetics industry has cottoned on to is that there are a large proportion of men out there with a large disposable income because they have no families to support, and they are fond of presenting a manicured appearance. I am of course referring to the gay community.
Two professional men living together with no family to support have a large disposable income and are willing to spend money on their appearance. Ironically enough one of the pioneers of hair transplant surgery for men back when hair loss treatments first became available was Elton John, a celebrity who is well known for having a preference for same sex partnerships. The desire for men to undergo hair transplant surgery to improve their appearance is a deep seated issue. Having a full head of hair sends a message of health and vitality, and without it, some men feel undermined sexually. Hair transplant procedures cannot therefore be classed as body modification, as what they are actually aiming for is to restore what was once there as part of a natural attraction between two people.
About the Author
Dom Donaldson is a cosmetics expert.
Find out more about Hair Transplant procedures and other techniques for hair loss treatment at Crown Clinic.