Face transplants -- just for the ladies?

The New York Times ventures into deepest Manhattan to report that women want Angelina's face.

Published December 16, 2005 1:00PM (EST)

A couple of weeks ago, a French woman's face transplant sparked all kinds of controversy over the safety, ethics and implications of the procedure. Thursday's New York Times joined the debate with some public-opinion reporting from, of all places, a Manhattan nail salon, where two female customers argued over whether it would be OK to buy Angelina Jolie's face and have it grafted to your own. Gack.

Granted, the issues involved are interesting: What does wearing a dead person's face mean for your identity? Would it be unbearably sad for the family of the deceased if they encountered his or her face on another person in Barnes & Noble? Is it better if face transplants are performed only in medically necessary cirumstances, like on burn victims or on people with birth defects, or should people be able to have elective transplant surgery for cosmetic reasons?

But also, New York Times, why is this a women's issue? Why interview the ladies at the nail salon and not the muscleheads at the gym, too? Why compare getting a face transplant to "buying a $1,000 Gucci bag"?

Sure, women get more elective plastic surgery than men. But times are changing; men get nose jobs and and hair plugs and calf implants. If physique-focused mags like Men's Health are still in business, there must be men out there who are willing to pay for the privilege of being told their abs need work.

But maybe I'm being ridiculous. Readers, join the controversy! First off, if it were possible to get a face transplant for purely cosmetic purposes, would that be a decent use of a donated cadaver?

And, if the process became widely available, do you think any dudes would sign up?

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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