Bro-tox is a Thing, Because Apparently Men Can't Get Botox Unless It Has a Cute Name
Botox: It's not just for women anymore. No, according to a new piece in GQ, we are entering the age of "Unapologetic Male Beauty" (trademark status pending?) in which more men are getting Botox and undergoing other kinds of cosmetic procedures once meant exclusively for women. In fact, they are so "unapologetic" about this that they needed to come up with their own manly moniker for it: behold the era of "Bro-tox." I'll roll my eyes while you do.
According to GQ, Botox and other medical procedures designed to make men appear more youthful and attractive are rapidly gaining in popularity. Since the year 2000, they report, Botox treatments for men have increased 310 percent, and other cosmetic procedures are up as well. Men are now gleefully freezing away their fat, lasering off their sunspots, and injecting away their wrinkles and sagging cheeks more and more. For some, it's a way to stay attractive or regain lost good looks; for others it's about trying to look youthful in an uncertain job market — especially if you work in Sillicon Valley, where the "younger is better" mentality creates a lot of pressure. But regardless of the reason, the overall picture seems to be that men are now all about the Botox.
Sorry, the Bro-tox.
This news carries with it a lot of interesting implications. For one, does this mean that men are finally starting to feel the effects of our youth-obsessed, objectifying beauty culture in something close to the degree that women do? Are we now in an era where, instead of scaling back on the obsession with women's personal appearance, we're chasing equality by applying more pressure to men? Because if so, I'm not inclined to see that as progress. I like looking at attractive dudes as much as the next straight girl, but I also know that it sucks feeling like you have to alter your appearance because you feel like the face in the mirror isn't good enough. The pressure to be beautiful forever is ridiculous, and it isn't something we should be giving more of a foothold in our society.
At the same time, though, it's certainly interesting to watch guys trying to grapple with beauty culture. The author of the GQ article, Josh Dean, describes the world of cosmetic medicine with a mix of fascination and bemusement. Even after undergoing several treatments of his own, he still doesn't seem quite sure what to make of this strange new world — which, of course, is not such a strange world for women.
Dean describes the fact that looking into and then undergoing the procedures made him "surprisingly preoccupied with my body, far more nagged by the supposed faults and enticed by the possible correctives." And reading that I couldn't help but think, "Well duh," and notice that he didn't seem any more preoccupied than me or any girl I know who's never undergone cosmetic procedures of any sort. He examined his lines and blemishes closely in the mirror. He paid astute attention to his waist line and the shape of his stomach. He generally worried that he wasn't looking as good as he wanted.
I'd ask if that sounded familiar to any other girls, but it's a little like asking if anyone feels personally victimized by Regina George.
Maybe guys getting into Botox and freezing away their fat will finally start to lessen the stigma that surrounds cosmetic procedures — or better yet, prompt people to reexamine the image-focused culture that makes people feel these procedures are necessary to begin with. After all, hearing Dean describe his reasoning behind the procedures he elects to try out in the article, it occurred to me that if a woman on the Internet were so honest about such a thing, everyone would be calling her a bimbo or worse. Maybe men talking about these procedures will spark some seriously worthwhile dialogue around the topic.
Though first, guys, stop calling it Bro-tox. You are not doing something radically different and new. You are not making a female thing manly. You are doing what countless women before you have done. You are getting Botox. Deal with it.