Feminizing faces, the booming aesthetic surgery technique
(Excerpt from ELLE, by Marie Muñoz)
/Published November 29, 2021/
In beauty practices, the demand for the feminization of men’s faces is booming. Investigation of a trend that is taking hold.
22% of 18-30 year olds say they feel neither male nor female, according to an Ifop study. A gender crisis that can lead them to want to feminize or masculinize, with all the range of possibilities that this creates. “This approach should not be confused with transsexuality. There is no sexual consideration here, it is only about the physical aspect. It is an aesthetic taste, ”points out plastic surgeon Barbara Hersant. We think of the artists Christine and the Queens or Bilal Hassani, the transidentitarian models Valentina Sampaio and Hari Nef or the singer and actor Harry Styles, new boyfriend of the actress and director Olivia Wilde. At 27, he likes to walk the red carpets with make-up, necklaces, handbags… and he recently appeared on the cover of “Vogue” USA wearing a Gucci dress.
AN AESTHETIC PHENOMENON
Shaking up the codes of the genre is not new, especially among artists. David Bowie, Mick Jagger or Prince indulged in it in their time, as did the group Indochine, whose title “3rd sex” was released thirty-six years ago. “What seemed marginal at the time has now become a fundamental trend,” says Dr. Gérald Franchi, who has been practicing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for many years. Above all, in 2021, makeup and clothes are no longer the only weapons to modulate your appearance. Acts of aesthetic medicine have become common among young people: like Léo, 22, who likes to wear nail polish and peroxide hair, more and more men want to have recourse to procedures that feminize the face, in a subtle. “I plan to do lip injections, but that’s it,” he explains. I feel good in my male body and I don’t want to go any further. However, playing with feminine codes allows me to break down barriers and not be defined by gender. »
With 70 to 80% of aesthetic requests*, it is the feminine side that prevails over the masculine, so much so that a name has been given to all the techniques practiced in aesthetics to feminize a face: the FFS , for Facial Feminization Surgery. Beyond prominent personalities and those under 30 who seek to degender themselves, this current of devirilization of traits would win over all men. According to the doctors present at the annual AIME meeting (Conference for Innovation in Aesthetic Medicine), demand is exploding in all socio-professional circles. “Previously, the requests were very binary, the patients clearly wanted to be either a woman or a man”, summarizes Professor Jean-Paul Meningaud, specialist in anti-aging medicine and in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Today, there are many intermediaries, and the boundaries are blurring.
IN CABINET, TARGETED ACTS
To feminize features, aesthetic specialists rely on the genetic characteristics of each sex. “The face of the man is distinguished from that of the woman by its more angular and square morphology, underlines Dr. Franchi. It has more marked bony relief: bump between the eyebrows and on the forehead, more massive and square chin, more protruding nose, visible Adam’s apple, prominent chin. The female face is more rounded, oval or heart-shaped, with a more pointed chin. The features are generally softer. Facial feminization therefore consists in blurring or removing the male stigmata to soften the features. Going through the surgeon’s scalpel is not mandatory. Some procedures, such as drawing the lips, restructuring the cheekbones or working on the contours of the face, are done in a doctor’s office by injecting more or less volumizing hyaluronic acid. The product is absorbed after one to two years, on average, the act is not final, the disappointed or the undecided can therefore backtrack. To go further, surgery is necessary. We can make a bone remodeling of the forehead or the eyebrow arches, thanks to the profiloplasty, which also includes the reduction of the nose and the chin. Having recourse to hair implants makes it possible to fill the bald temporal gulfs. Some men go so far as to opt for the advancement of hair implantation so as to decrease the size of the forehead. Adam’s apple reduction can also be considered. She requires general anesthesia and a good week of recovery.
UNINTENDED SIGNS OF MASCULINITY
If men seek to soften their features, women do not ask for acts that masculinize their face. “The demand is very limited, even in cases of transidentity which are accompanied by a change of sex”, notes Dr. Franchi. Taking hormones then erases feminine characteristics quite easily. Hair appears, the temporal gulfs become thinner, the skin thickens and changes texture. However, it is good to be wary of certain interventions currently very popular with young women, inspired by the much retouched Bella Hadid. If they are not intended to masculinize the face, they can have this effect when the doctor’s hand is a little too heavy. This is particularly the case for filler injections aimed at restructuring the jaw by marking the mandibular angle. The profile looks flawless in selfies, but in real life it risks becoming too heavy and boxy. A definitely manly feature.
* According to a study revealed at the last AIME congress.
WOMEN: SOFTER FEATURES FOR AGING WELL
The feminization of traits is not just a matter of men. With age, women may need it. By widening at the temples and sagging at the jowls, their face often becomes more rectangular. The cheekbones also seem less prominent, the lips are thinner, and the forehead wrinkles make the look more severe. A very straight nose at 20 can be marked by a bump and lose its finesse at the tip. “These effects of aging tend to masculinize the face. However, thanks to experimental psychology work, we now have a finer understanding of what makes a female face attractive,” notes Prof. Meningaud. These advances make it possible to find the parade. On the forehead, botulinum toxin is a good indication, provided it is used sparingly. “Otherwise, it lowers the eyebrows and makes the look a little more masculine,” says the professor. The nose will be corrected using filler injections. As for the lips, they are reshaped with a mini-lift, the “upper lip lift”, which shortens the area between the nose and the upper lip and redraws the Cupid’s bow. Finally, for the treatment of jowls, the tensor threads or the centro-facial lifting are the most indicated.