Is Your Before And After Gallery Diverse Enough?

We explore why representation matters.

A recent study has found that women of colour are severely underrepresented when it comes to before and after photo galleries of clinics. The study, led by Abbas M. Hassan, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, analysed the inclusion of African American women in social media posts for breast reconstruction across 2580 images uploaded in 2019. Of these, only 172 images (6.7 per cent) included non-white women.

The same study surveyed 543 surgeons and found that 30 per cent of surgeons did not have any photographs of non-white patients on their social media accounts. From a random sample of the top plastic surgery social media influencers, the researches found that only 5 per cent of uploaded photographs included women of colour.

The study made clear that whilst many clinics and other small businesses in the aesthetics industry understand the importance of a before and after gallery, the majority do not consider diversity and representation when curating these galleries. However, this underrepresentation in social media images may be a leading factor contributing to the decreasing trend in breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer among African American women.

“This study highlights the evolving factors that may impair African American breast cancer patients’ access to safe, effective breast reconstruction, which must be identified and resolved,” the authors write.

Perhaps you may want to revisit your existing before and after gallery and consider the following:

  • Are these images representing the diversity of my client base? It is important that people of all backgrounds and genders are included in your gallery and that everyone feels represented.
  • How can I reframe these images to attract a more diverse clientele? If your gallery features mostly or all images of white clients, try to get new images from different clients. The more people can see themselves in your photos, the more diverse clients you can attract.
  • Am I being as diverse and inclusive as other professionals in the field? If your gallery is lacking diversity and mass-representation, this can negatively impact your business. Don’t be afraid to speak to fellow professionals and check out competing sites and socials to see what areas you can improve in.

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