Nose Jobs Take a Nose Dive as the Face of Beauty Evolves

It was 1985.  I was a 16 and begrudgingly spending a week with my parents in the Catskills, the legendary Jewish resort area in upstate New York where I was force-fed a steady diet of Jackie Mason and kugel.  My family is not Jewish, so I didn’t connect the dots when a nice old lady told me she really liked my nose (for a few minutes I thought this was code for “you’ve got something hanging out of it”).  She asked me who I got it from, but when I said my Mom, her reply was “your mother’s a surgeon?”.

Many years and Jewish friends later, I would learn to appreciate the right of passage that is a nose job.  Deep down I didn’t think most of them needed it (some I even envied), but I got it.  In a Christy Brinkley Brooke Shields world, larger noses just weren’t part of the Hollywood aesthetic at the time.  And if it made them feel better, then why not?

But now for some good news.  Nose jobs have dropped 37% since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, especially among Jewish women.  There’s a trends towards young Jewish women embracing the beauty of their ethnicity and not feeling pressure to blend in.  Now, rhinoplasty is up for Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics, but the upside is they’re not going in for a totally new schnoz, just subtle reshaping to balance the features of their face.  They want their heritage and ethnicity maintained, which makes sense considering this is what America looks like now.

The jaded pundits out there say this is because of the economy, which isn’t completely untrue, but the optimist in me attributes the decrease in nose jobs to two things:

  1. What we define as “beautiful” is simply changing.   My peers who had nose jobs some 25 years ago as a rite of passage, look like they’ve had a nose job.  Growing up in the Main Line of Philadelphia, you could spot a Neuman nose from a mile away.    Many times, the girl didn’t necessarily look remarkably prettier, it was just her with a smaller nose.  Of course the poster girl for having a nose job rob one of their specialness is Jennifer Grey.  How cute was she before the nose job?   But today, our celebrity royalty is a more diverse bunch thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker, Lea Michelle, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Aniston, Blake Lively even guys like Adrian Brody and Owen Wilson.  Now I am convinced most of these celebs have had quite a bit of nose “shaping” (looking at you Anne, Blake, Jen and Bey) but they’ve minimally optimized versus bought an off the rack nose meant for another face.

2. My second theory is that the population is aging and therefore shifting dollars into more anti-aging procedures (chinplants anyone) which only recently gained mass awareness.  Further, there are more non invasive procedures available that aren’t nearly as expense, so get more bang for your buck with injectables.

I for one like that the landscape of what’s beautiful is shifting.  There is not a woman (or man) on the list about who I would say isn’t attractive, especially because of a slightly larger nose.


The Daily News

The Tablet

American Society of Plastic Surgeons