Snapchat Dysmorphia

What does it mean to be attractive? How does one go about looking their best? Today, it seems like a Snapchat filter is the quickest and easiest way to reach that goal. With Snapchat, we can instantly smooth our skin, lengthen our lashes, and thin our face. USA Today shares an article that discusses some plastic surgeons’ concerns with the Snapchat epidemic. More often than ever, people are coming into surgeons’ offices with a Snapchat edited picture as the guide for how they would like to look. These Snapchat edits usually give people cartoonish, and ultimately unrealistic, features. The most common features include over-sized eyes, thinned jawlines, thinned noses, and fuller lips.

Are we so obsessed with this new idea of a cartoonish face, that we do not find our own children beautiful without a filter?

Now, the discussion has become that these Snapchat filters may be fueling body dysmorphia disorder, or BDD. BDD is the obsession with a specific flaw or insecurity that can cause anxiety and depression. People typically have an exaggerated idea of the flaw in their head and will go great lengths to hide it. It’s possible that such easily accessible filters, which dramatically alter our appearances, are shifting the world's beauty standards, making them more absurd and impractical. This can be dangerous, since it can encourage BDD tendences in more and more people. Think about it, how many times have found yourself taking a selfie with a Snapchat filter, and the filter either stops working, or you turn it off and suddenly you hate the look of your face? It seems so much less pleasing than the filtered face you were just looking at. Suddenly you can’t take a picture of yourself without using a Snapchat filter, and now you’re daydreaming about having those features in real life.

While I was reading the USA Today article, and thinking about all of the times my friends or I have fallen victim to this Snapchat dysmorphia, it reminded me of another epidemic: The Kardashian Effect. The Kardashian women are all examples of an unrealistic beauty standard. While many people know this, the Kardashians have still become arguably the most influential family in our nation. Their features have become the most sought after, to the point that everyone in Hollywood looks like some sort of creepy version of them. The Kardashians themselves look like walking Snapchat filters, and people are following this trend religiously. Personally, I’ve always found it a little strange that they hardly ever post pictures of their children without a Snapchat filter. Are we so obsessed with this new idea of a cartoonish face, that we do not find our own children beautiful without a filter? It seems a little wrong to subject a child to this Snapchat dysmorphia epidemic.

All in all, it’s important to keep these things in perspective. While Snapchat filters can be fun to play with, don’t obsess too much over the animated version of yourself. And while the Kardashians can be an entertaining bunch to keep up with, don’t kill yourself trying to look just like them. It’s very easy to find yourself dangerously wrapped up in these abnormal beauty standards. Here’s your friendly reminder to appreciate your face: it’s beautiful, it’s yours, and it’s real.