Before, people came into the offices of plastic surgeons carrying with themselves the photos of the celebrities they wanted to look like. Today, with their cell phone in hand, they ask to look as an image of themselves… but after applying certain filters provided by social media. This is called Snapchat dysmorphia and it is already a subject of debate in the medical community.
According to a study, this is an alarming trend since these filters often have an unattainable appearance and eliminate the line that divides reality from fantasy.
Neelam Vashi, a researcher involved in this study, told The Washington Post that “Snapchat dysmorphia” is the result of people now being able to correct any imperfection easily. “What used to be only available to celebrities is now in the hands of everyone.”
According to the annual survey of the American Academy of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, selfies continue to be a driving force behind why people want to undergo a cosmetic procedure. In 2017, the survey found that 55% of surgeons reported that their patients requested surgery because they looked better in selfies. A figure 13% higher compared to the previous year.
Snapchat, for example, has more than 20 filters that users can alternate simply by swiping the screens on their phones. In addition to adding wreaths or puppy ears, the filters can give the person freckles, longer eyelashes, wider eyes and perfect skin, among other more drastic transformations.
Some more sophisticated like Facetune, have the ability to whiten the denture and reduce cheekbones or waist size. These apps can create the fantasy that a transformation is possible and that the way to achieve it is simple. With that idea in mind, they come into a doctor’s office demanding that the changes happen in a week.
Snapchat dysmorphia is seen as a form of body dysmorphic disorder, a mental disorder that makes people extremely worried about a body defect.
According to the research, until recently, only models and celebrities could take impeccable and desirable photos. Now with the increasing and massive access to editing apps, the previously unattainable beauty standards are flooding social media and those people who look perfect in the photos are common folks, causing many more to search for an image of them that does not exist in real life.
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