So, face transplants have become a reality. Which got me thinking earlier about how this all might develop in the future. Our identities being deeply intertwined with our appearance, it’s quite a big step to undertake any alterations. The reason most commonly given for seeking facial plastic surgery is to ‘appear more normal’ [ or younger ]. In the future will it be, ‘to appear more like Brad Pitt’? [ Presuming of course Brad is willing to donate his face to a suitable wannabe ]. If facial transplants become a mainstream procedure would it be likely for people to bequeath their faces? Could we see a new phenomeon of posthumous celebrity face auctions on ebay? Would the grateful recipient of Mr Michael Jackson’s visage also receive the running repair kit that goes with it?
I thought about whether I would want to have an alternative face to the one I’ve got, if such a thing were possible. When I was younger I would imagine what it would be like to look like other people – usually those considered to be good looking. These days I’m pretty happy with how I look. Having been fortunate to inherit the eternal youth gene from my beautiful mother, I’ve been lucky not to suffer too much from the sagging, World of Leather look which seems to have afflicted so many of my contemporaries as they move into the twiglet zone. But, if my face were damaged or disfigured I think I would find it pretty difficult to deal with the social attention that would generate. People can be cruel and, in a world where personal appearance is a muti-billion pound economy, being ‘different’ can be difficult. A face transplant in those circumstances, like the one pioneered in France, could be life transforming. Would you swap your face for another?