Men, appearance, and cosmetic surgery: The role of confidence, self-esteem, and comfort with the body


  • Rosemary Ricciardelli McMaster University
  • Kimberley Ann Clow University of Ontario Institute of Technology



masculinity, body, gender, identity


Recent research has suggested that perceptions of the body are important to men’s sense of confidence and that men see the body as a vehicle for personal improvement. To build on this research, an online survey investigated Canadian men’s perspectives on their appearance and their attitudes toward cosmetic surgery. Low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and comfort with one’s body uniquely predicted different aspects of men’s experiences, including attitudes about body shape, perceptions of others, pressures to lose weight, and perspectives regarding cosmetic surgery. For example, participants who were more comfortable with their bodies and higher in self-esteem were happier with their current body shape and features, whereas participants who were less comfortable with their bodies and lower in confidence put more pressure on themselves to lose weight. In addition, lower confidence significantly predicted willingness to undergo cosmetic surgery. Men’s perspectives on cosmetic surgery were thematically analyzed. These findings are situated within identity theory and sociology of the body.

Author Biographies

Rosemary Ricciardelli, McMaster University

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, McMaster University

Kimberley Ann Clow, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies, University of Ontario Institute of Technology