Can Drastically Changing Your Face Give You An Identity Crisis?

Your face is a big part of your identity — so what happens when plastic surgery substantially changes that face? How a radical appearance overhaul can affect one's sense of self.

A look at photos of Megan Fox over the years reveals a pretty stunning transformation — Megan Fox 2012 could be a completely different person than Megan Fox 2002. And the word "person" is key — our faces are often deeply linked to our sense of who we are. So what happens to that sense when its outward embodiment drastically changes?

Megan Fox 2002

Via: whitneyjefferson

According to Vivian Diller, psychologist and author of "Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change and What to Do about It," a lot can happen. People tend to overlook the attachment they have to their facial characteristics, she says, and after a major appearance-changing surgery, they sometimes realize "that imperfection is actually part of their identity." Something like a "slightly off nose" might be part of how someone defines herself, without even realizing it — and when it's gone, that self-definition can suffer. Diller says patients in this situation can feel disconnected from their new faces, faces that no longer feel like theirs. "That image that people see in the mirror and take for granted," she says, "actually runs deeper."

Victoria Pitts-Taylor, a sociologist and author of "Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture," points out that while cosmetic surgery has become "fairly normalized, dramatic transformations are still taboo." One result is that loved ones can also feel like the operations have taken away the person they knew. After her extreme transformation through ten plastic surgery procedures, Heidi Montag said her mom was shocked: "She was looking at me almost like a zoo animal. It wasn't like I was her daughter anymore."

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