Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner




cosmetic surgery, feminization, masculinity, aesthetics, gender roles


The utilization of cosmetic surgery within the United States has increased substantially over the last decade, and while women still make up the vast majority of cosmetic surgery recipients, the rates among the male population have grown exponentially. While traditional notions of masculinity dictate that men should not be concerned with their appearance, it appears that a transition is taking place toward the feminization of masculinity, as evidenced by the intensifying media presence of the metrosexual man. The present study investigates attitudes toward a man’s use of cosmetic surgery. A survey that measured television and magazine exposure, familiarity with the term “metrosexual,” attitudes toward men’s and women’s use of cosmetic surgery, and attitudes toward men getting cosmetic surgery for three different reasons was administered to 103 students in five different classes at Union College. While respondents were generally more accepting of a woman’s use of cosmetic surgery than they were of a man’s, approximately half of the respondents had positive attitudes toward men getting cosmetic surgery. Additionally, respondents were more accepting of a man getting cosmetic surgery to improve his psychological health and to benefit his career than they were toward a man doing so for aesthetic reasons. Past research has suggested that when it comes to investing in their physical appearance, men today are less constrained by the narrow and limiting notions of hegemonic masculinity. While we are seeing fewer constraints, we are not finding evidence of a complete dissolution of conventional gender role norms.