Young people’s perceptions of cosmetic procedures and body ideals: A focus group exploration
Dr. A.M.M. Hermans, dr. J. Veldhuis (VU Amsterdam), dr. S. Boerman (Wageningen University)
For this exploratory research project, we are conducting focus group research to examine perceptions of cosmetic procedures among adolescents in the Netherlands. An increasing number of young adults undergo cosmetic procedures (Zarringam et al., 2020), which is a potentially disconcerting development that has stimulated governmental discussions regarding the regulation of the cosmetic surgery sector (NOS, 2020; Van Ark, 2021). Despite the popularity of procedures, few studies have examined how young people arrive at the decision to undergo these procedures. Contemporary sociocultural contexts play a role, but it is necessary to see how attitudes towards cosmetic procedures develop. As adolescence forms a crucial stage in the development of self- and body-image (cf. Ching & Xiu, 2019), this project examines adolescents’ discourses surrounding body projects, particularly cosmetic procedures. To gain an insight into this, we are conducting focus groups with adolescents (aged 16-18) at secondary and senior secondary vocational education (MBO) schools across the Netherlands. As part of these focus groups, the construction and presentation of particular body ideals and cosmetic procedures on social media is explored, as previous research has indicated that both passive and active social media use may contribute to more positive attitudes towards the cosmetic surgery industry (cf. Chen et al., 2019).