In Reshaping the Female Body: The Dilemma of Cosmetic Surgery, Kathy Davis upended the common sense view that people undergo plastic surgery because they want to be beautiful or handsome.  Instead, she found that most people sought cosmetic correction because they felt ugly or strange.  They didn’t want to be great-looking, or even good-looking, they wanted to be normal, unremarkable, to blend in with the crowd.

I thought of Davis’ book when I scrolled through Zed Nelson‘s photographic commentary on beauty, Love Me, sent in by zeynaparsel.  There’s a lot to see there, but here I’ve pulled out some of the pictures that I think resonate with Davis’ findings.

“I’m competing with men 20 years younger than me.”

“To be honest I never thought that I needed it [labiaplasty]. But I read about the procedure in a magazine.”

Men’s Health magazine (USA) hasn‘t had a hairy chest on it’s cover since 1995.”  

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.