Brazil is truly a country in which people are conscious of their beauty. Beauty is a big business for Brazil. With nearly 50 billion in beauty revenues Brazil is the third largest after the United States and Japan. However, according to the global market research company Euromonitor, Brazil will overtake Japan in the coming years because in the past ten years Brazil’s beauty industry grew nearly 150% while Japan’s only grew by 40%.
“Beauty is everything to us,” said to me a young male editor at a fashion magazine who wanted to remain anonymous, “I think beauty is valued above all else for us. We go to church looking beautiful.”
This editor had plastic surgery performed all over his body. He has had 17 surgeries to date. Everything from lips to breasts to the butt. According to the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Plástica (Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery) there were 276,000 plastic surgeries performed on men in 2014. That means for every 2 minutes of every hour of the day a Brazilian man was going under the knife somewhere.
“I’m not surprised,” said João, a young man who lives in a favela and who said he would like to have eyelid surgery done when he has the money for it, “I know today in Brazil it’s not a shocker for a man to have plastic surgery. Maybe ten years ago it was not like that at all.”
João is right. In 2009 less than 100,000 Brazilian men had plastic surgery done, according to the SBCP. Today men account for 22.5 percent of all plastic surgeries performed in Brazil.
The situation is not very different in the United States.
“Our society places a high value on looking young and fit. Today, men of all ages and all walks of life are requesting plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons,” says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “Men’s goals include a more balanced nose, a rejuvenated face, a trimmer waistline.”
In the United States, according to the ASPS, men accounted for about 8% of all plastic surgeries performed, which means that American men had 1.3 million total cosmetic procedures in 2014.
That said, and I don’t want you to get me wrong, not all men are into plastic surgery. There are some who are happy with their looks, and others who are aware of the dangers.
“Unless it’s a medical issue I don’t see the need for it,” says Earl Davis, one of the men I featured in my book Men Around the World, “I just think that people throw caution to the wind and don’t realize how dangerous surgery is.”
In 2013 an in-depth CNN report by Jacque Wilson said medical errors kill more than 200,000 people every year in the United States, according to a study published September of that year.
AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author of the coffee table book Men Around the World.