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I like myself
just the way I am: Young Britons spurn plastic surgery and fashion fads
(press release from R.O.A.R.)
Ten years of R.O.A.R. youth research finds most young
• Like their bodies the way they are
• Think plastic surgery is acceptable
……… but they wouldn’t choose to have it themselves
• Regard dressing to shock as a no no
• Aren’t influenced by the latest fashion trends
An extensive survey of young people’s attitudes to their appearance, cosmetic surgery
and fashion trends has found that, in spite of constant exposure to an image-obsessed
media, young Brits are confident of their body image and are less likely to be slaves
to the latest fashion trends than they were 10 years ago.
These are the latest findings from R.O.A.R. (Right of Admission Reserved) the influential
research programme run by OMD Insight (the research division of the OMD media agency
group) and Channel 4, to investigate the lifestyles and attitudes of young people
To mark the tenth anniversary of the launch of R.O.A.R., OMD Insight and Channel
4 decided to revisit the generation of young people first interviewed in 1995 to
gauge how their attitudes have changed over the past decade and to compare their
attitudes with those of today’s generation of 15-24 year olds.
Fat and happy?
The media is often accused of bombarding young people with unhealthy images of waif-like
figures models. But young Britons seem to be more impervious to this continual exposure
to skinny celebrities than expected.
Perhaps it’s because they have grown accustomed to it, having seen the ‘without
makeup’ shots that betray celebrities’ and film stars’ real appearances? R.O.A.R.
found that half (49%) of 15-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds are perfectly
happy with the way their bodies look, while 21% of the younger group and 27% of
the older group were undecided. Less than a third of both age groups disagreed with
the statement: “I am happy with the way my body looks”.
In spite of the deluge of TV make-over shows promoting the benefits of Botox injections
and facial tucks, only 17% of 15-24 year olds and the same proportion of 25-34 year
olds would have plastic surgery to enhance their features now – even if money was
no object. A massive 70% of 15-24 year olds and 69% of 25-34 year olds would not
be tempted to tinker with Mother Nature.
When asked whether they agreed with the statement, “I would consider having plastic
surgery in later life if I needed it”, just 32% of 15-24 year olds and 27% of 25-34
year olds agreed, while a majority – 49% and 53% – disagreed.
This is particularly interesting in the context of young people’s attitudes towards
the acceptability of plastic surgery in general. Despite their aversion to having
cosmetic surgery themselves, nearly two-thirds find it acceptable for other people.
R.O.A.R. found 60% of 15-24 year olds and 63% of 25-34 year olds agreed with the
statement: “Cosmetic surgery is acceptable nowadays”.
Dressing with confidence
The finding that young Brits are at ease with their looks is reinforced by R.O.A.R.
data on how young people dress and how they view trends in fashion.
Over the last decade, teenage angst seems to have softened around the edges. Compared
to 10 years ago, there is now less desire to rebel and assert their individuality
through their clothing.
In 2005, 9% of 15-24 year olds agree that they “dress to shock” compared with 11%
ten years ago. The original panel of 15-24 year olds ROAR talked to in 1995 have
also mellowed as they have grown up – only 3% of the group, now aged 25-34 years
old, say they still dress to shock.
This diminished need to make an impact through fashion is reinforced by the finding
that today fewer 15-24 year olds agree with the statement “I dress in an individual
style” than in 1995. Ten years ago, 66% of the original ROAR kids felt they asserted
their individuality through their clothes, compared with 55% of today’s 15-24 year
olds. As the original respondents have grown older they have also conformed to fashion
norms – now aged 25-34, only 51% say they dress in an individualistic way.
However, young Britons are more resistant to fashion trends than ever. Ten years
ago, 47% of 15-24 year olds agreed that it was important to keep up with the latest
fashion trends, dropping to 31% amongst that age group in 2005, and down to 20%
amongst the older original respondents, now aged 25-34.
Jo Rigby, Head of OMD Insight comments: “These results surprised us. Far from revealing
an angst-ridden generation desperate to look like their favourite celebrities, the
research shows us a generation quite comfortable with the way they look. Despite
the past decade of celebrity-madness it's refreshing to see that today's youth aren't
feeling the pressure to mirror the images of perfection they see in the media everyday.”
– ENDS –
For more information contact The Media Foundry:
Patrick Barrett: 0207 243 2738 -
Alex Burr: 0207 985 0712 -
NOTES TO EDITORS:
R.O.A.R asked 1,000 15-24s and 1,000 25-34s to take part in an online survey which
looked at their media habits, consumption and attitudes.
We replicated from the original 1995 survey in order to establish trends and understand
how 15-24s have changed from 10 years ago.
The respondents were also asked a number of topical questions relevant to the world
in which they live today.
In some instances, respondents were asked whether they:- agreed, disagreed or neither
agreed nor disagreed with various statements. Therefore, the positive and negative
responses do not always add up 100%.
The research was carried out at the end of April.
OMD Insight is the research arm of OMD, the world’s number one media planning and
buying agency network, owned by Omnicom.
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