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Thesis looks at cosmetic surgery

Rachel Creagan
Staff Writer

Senior sociology major Mary McCool believes there is a correlation between cosmetic procedures and age, ethnicity, religion and self-esteem.

McCool’s intrigued interest in this topic inspired her senior thesis.

The initial idea came from hearing news reports of girls receiving breast implants from their parents as a high school graduation present and of children receiving botox.

“I thought, that it was interesting that cars or trips were no longer what girls wanted for graduation; they wanted to enhance their bodies instead,” McCool said.

She took this topic and expanded it to other non-surgical procedures such as botox, lip enhancement, liposuction, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion.

McCool was granted permission by professors to survey students in both traditional and CAPA classes to collect sources that vary in age.

She then obtained data from women at the University of La Verne, between the ages of 18 and 55 years old.

Her requirement was to gather a minimum of 100 surveys before generating her data.

As the results were gathered and analyzed, they showed that the only relationship found concerned age with botox and microdermabrasion.

“There was no significance with religion or ethnicity which surprised me,” McCool said. “I was disappointed because I really thought a factor other than age would be significant.”

This result seems obvious, but could be a reflection of the sample selection.

“One limitation was her sample,” said Glen Goodwin, her sociology professor. “It wasn’t random and was a more convenient sampling.”

“With Mary’s topic, I think it would be interesting to integrate questions about reality television,” Echelle Avelar, behavioral science major, said.

“I think a lot of people, especially college students, see shows that affect their body image because now they are doing these procedures on television.”

“They see everyday girls getting these procedures done, and how easy it is, and think it will be the same for them,” Avelar said.

Amanda Velasquez, behavioral science major, agreed that reality television and celebrities have begun to normalize plastic surgery.

“They only see the end result when the people look wonderful,” criminology major Marine Mkrttchyan said.

“You don’t see the middle parts of the pain and suffering.”

Rachel Creagan can be reached at

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