Appearance matters. It has mattered throughout the course of history. Denying this is naïve. Increasing possibilities to change one's appearance leads to new ethical debates. Using several examples, we discuss the following arguments: (1) Appearance should not matter, and enhancing one's appearance is ethically wrong, and (2) why not accept the way one looks? People do not autonomously choose but are brainwashed by icons and ideals; doctors should not cut into healthy bodies, particularly because appearance treatments are luxuries compared to more important needs. We conclude that appearance changes are not intrinsically wrong, but some changes are racist and sexist, and that a risk of exploiting gullible or fragile people exists.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Beaufort, I.D, Bolt, L.L.E, & Vandamme, S. (S.). (2012). Appearance, Ethics of. In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics (pp. 156–166). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-373932-2.00321-5