Michael Jackson’s progressive transformation was sad to watch for many of us in the plastic surgery field. He went from looking like an attractive African American male to an unnatural fairy tale character. Although there were undeniable underlying psychological issues, there is a very delicate question to ask: Did the plastic surgeon do the job he was asked to perform – to the letter? Ethical implications aside, let’s think about this:
A boy grows up without a true childhood, he gravitates towards youth in an attempt to hold on to it, builds a large estate called “Neverland Ranch,” and wishes to be more like the free-spirited, mischievous boy that can fly and never grows old – Peter Pan. In addition, potentially struggling with his sexuality and orientation, he also is drawn to Pan’s motherly counterpart, Wendy.
From this stems an arduous transformation: lightening and resurfacing the skin to look younger, larger, rounder eyes which have a youthful – almost feminine – appearance, a tiny “button nose” of a child, a square jaw with prominent chin to retain masculinity and strength, and a cleft chin (dimple) which leaves a youthful mark. This gender confusion and Jackson’s altered reality became more evident with each surgical procedure.
It may be that his plastic surgeon was asked to create the look of a mixed-gender (not androgynous) individual with characteristics of eternal youth. The exaggerated cartoon-like nose, round fawn-like eyes, and hero-like chiseled jaw created a character that became a blend of Peter Pan’s most famous players. If that was the goal, then the plastic surgeon triumphed!
The ethical considerations for this are a completely different story…