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gender neutral cosmetic surgery procedure trend

The new cosmetic surgery trend is androgynous and gender-neutral procedures

TextSara Radin

More people are seeking out changes that allow their physical appearance to authentically match their identities

Gender-neutral plastic surgeries are growing more popular, according to one well-known plastic surgeon based in Los Angeles, California. Recently, Dr Alexander Rivkin, who pioneered the ‘Five-Minute Non-Surgical Nose Job’, has been noticing patients veering away from extreme femininity and masculinity and moving in favour of a more androgynous look. For women, instead of slopes and softening, he is seeing more requests for sharp angles with straight jawlines and noses while men are requesting more lip and cheekbone enhancement. Using a combination of Botox and precisely placed filler, Dr Rivkin says clients are looking for a more modern, custom-tailored look that appears to be gender fluid in appearance. 

“It’s not that people are coming into my office and saying, ‘I want to look more gender-neutral’,” says Dr Rivkin. “I do see it as a gradual shift in what women and men are requesting and the kinds of (plastic surgeries) that they want.” He believes this is a change from recent times in which extreme, hyper-feminine features were widely popular. “People still want to augment their lips, but be conservative about it. (They’re more) natural, not the super large lips (we’re used to seeing).”

“Women want a sharp jawline and that’s a symbol of strength and confidence. So that’s become really a much bigger thing in my practice than ever before.” In terms of men, Dr Rivkin sees more often men coming in for fuller lips and Botox, which are typically considered more feminine kinds of procedures and less hyper-masculine. The expert believes that influencers and celebrities like Zendaya, who is a woman with a sharp, defined chin, playing a character that’s vulnerable but confident while male characters like Ansel Elgort have fuller lips but are still considered a sex symbol. 

Culturally speaking, this shift could be reflective of the changes we’re seeing in the ways gender-fluid identities are becoming more widely accepted. Plus, with the current rise of a more sensitive expression of manhood (as a reaction against outdated conservative views in which toxic masculinity has been harmful pervasive), women are also reclaiming their power in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and amid our current intersectional feminist movement. It’s no wonder beauty ideals – and the kinds of plastic surgeries people are requesting – are changing.

“I decided to get my lips filled because I wanted to correct asymmetry and achieve a fuller, more pouty look with quite a bit of projection,” one of Dr Rivkin’s patients tells us. “I asked my injector to make the difference noticeable. I wanted the new appearance to be something that people’s eyes were drawn to.” The patient, who identifies as a gay man, says they got their lips done because they wanted to look more feminine and “beautiful” and that androgyny played a part in this. While, they believe more feminine-leaning features on men are “visually stunning” despite being “less expected,” “androgyny is something that holds attention, even if it’s just because people don’t know what to make of it (yet),” they said.

Another patient of Dr Rivkin received jaw and chin filler to balance out their features. “A defined jawline and chin gender-neutral. It doesn’t make you appear manly or unnatural as long as it’s done in moderation,” they expressed. A third, explained, “I don’t think there needs to be clear guidelines for beauty.”

“I personally like a more masculine look when it comes to my jawline. A strong defined jawline on a woman is very beautiful in my opinion. On the other hand, I get my lips injected for a pouty more feminine look,” they said. According to the patient, “a mix between soft feminine features and stronger more masculine features,” is attractive and exotic while it allows them to play with their feminine and masculine sides in both beauty and fashion. When it came to getting their procedure, they referenced Zendaya’s jawline and Zoë Kravitz’s. “Both are so beautiful and feminine yet have masculine features like a strong jawline.”

“One patient believes more feminine-leaning features on men are ‘visually stunning’ despite being ‘less expected’ and ‘androgyny is something that holds attention, even if it’s just because people don’t know what to make of it (yet)”

While Dr Rivkin believes this direction is definitely noticeable, Clare Varga, head of beauty at WGSN Beauty, an international trend forecasting company, makes a point to say that, “the shift to inclusivity and gender neutrality is not a trend, it’s a movement and as such is here to stay.” She adds: “The rise of androgynous/gender-neutral plastic surgeries is really just an extension and next evolution of the shifts we’ve been tracking at WGSN in beauty overall.”  

More broadly speaking, this shift could be tied to the rising, more fluid and less fixed approach to gender, says Varga, as well as the normalisation of filler culture and the increasing affordability of ‘tweakments’ including botox and fillers. On top of this, with Instagram filters offering us immediate facial revisions like smoother lines, and the blurring of URL and IRL culture, the trend forecaster believes we’re amid a new era of beauty ideals.

“With Instagram filters offering us immediate facial revisions like smoother lines, and the blurring of URL and IRL culture, we’re amid a new era of beauty ideals”

Varga says, this movement can be epitomised by trans beauty blogger and make-up artist Nikita Dragun. “Inspired by their own experiences and surgeries, Dragun’s gender-neutral brand’s identity is hyper-digital, hyper-plastic, and totally representative of the emerging aesthetic in the beauty community.” Other influencers Varga believes are helping to push this movement forward include Sasha Velour as well as micro-influencers like Lily Bloom, Celine Bernaerts, and Sophia Hadjipanteli. According to Varga, these surgeries are also part of a recent wave of gender-neutral beauty brands, which are normalising beauty for all. This includes brands like Fluide, Jecca, and Cult of Treehouse, which are abandoning, “archaic gender stereotypes and presenting genderless narratives” through their branding and marketing campaigns.

While, “in the past beauty was sold to us as a way to attract a partner or fit in, now it’s more about challenging beauty norms and being happy in your own skin,” argues Varga, androgynous leaning “tweakments” thus allow people to recreate and present themselves however they like, whether they’re attempting a gender-neutral look on purpose or not. Moving forward, Dr Rivkin believes this movement will only continue to expand from here, especially considering the fact that plastic surgeries have become less taboo. Therefore, in the future people will continue to seek out procedures that allow their physical appearance to authentically match their identities.

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