News and Commentary

Men Working In Silicon Valley Opting For Botox, Plastic Surgery, Report Says
A syringe rests alongside a vial of Allergan Botox, produced by Allergan Inc., in this arranged photograph taken at a skin and beauty clinic in London, U.K., on Monday, Nov. 17, 2014.
Photo by Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Men working in the hi-tech industry in Silicon Valley, California, are trying a technique that has heretofore been in the province of women: opting for plastic surgery or Botox in an effort to look younger so they’re not discriminated against because of their age.

The Washington Post reports that one 48-year-old tech worker opted for “plastic surgery, including Botox, a facelift to counteract under-eye bags and the kind of midsection sculpting that could offer the impression that washboard abs ripple beneath his tailored shirts.” The worker commented to the Post, “Back in the early 2000s and late ’90s people didn’t worry too much about how you looked. But there’s a whole new generation of workers here, and they have created different expectations and that starts with appearance. You see more people in shape and looking fashionable now. And if people in the workplace know you’re older than everyone else it can hurt you in terms of what roles you get.”

The Post quoted San Francisco-based plastic surgeon Larry Fan theorizing, “In Silicon Valley, it’s commonly believed that if you’re over the age of 35, you’re seen as over the hill. People here value the young for their passion and their ability to look at things in new ways. In meetings, middle-aged guys will notice that everyone around them looks fresh-faced and youthful, and they’ll tell me they feel like they stick out, and not in a good way.”

In 2015, Google was hit with a lawsuit alleging age discrimination which wound up with the tech giant paying $11 million to over 230 job applicants over the age of 40. The settlement stated:

Google has also agreed to programmatic relief in the form of: training employees and managers on age-based bias; the creation of a subcommittee within recruiting that will focus on age diversity in SWE, SRE, and SysEng positions; ensuring that Google’s marketing collateral reflects age diversity; ensuring that any age bias complaints for the relevant positions are adequately investigated, and conducting surveys of departing employees about potential discrimination.

The Post noted, “In 2018, ProPublica reported that over five years the cloud computing giant IBM — which reported more than $79 billion in revenue in 2018 — pushed out around 20,000 U.S. employees who were at least 40 years old in an effort to build a younger workforce.”

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of men using Botox or similar injections more than doubled between 2010 and 2016.

One 40-year old man summarized to the Post, “There’s a lot of studies that show being better-looking leads to people making more money. From my perspective, a $2,000-a-year investment to make more money long-term is definitely worth it. Right now, I can definitely pass for 30, no problem.”

Other procedures used to drink from the Fountain of Youth include laser and skin-tightening treatments, eye lifts, neck lifts, and something termed cool sculpting, which kills fat cells by freezing them.

Fan noted, “Everyone is on social media and looking at pictures of themselves and feeling more self-conscious about their appearance. Now these guys are coming in with apps like Face Morph that allow them to take a photo of their face and adjust the shape of their nose and cheekbones. They’ll show me the image and say, ‘I want to look like this.’” He added, “People out here want to have it all. They want to feel like they’re working hard and accomplishing great things and living a high-quality life that includes eating good food, being fit, making money and traveling … If you can change the world, why can’t you change your appearance?”