Beauty Culture Commentary Pop Culture

Selfie Dysmorphia

August 7, 2018

I sometimes look at the photos celebrities post of themselves and wonder what they see or how they feel when they actually look in the mirror.

On the monthly covers of O magazine, Oprah Winfrey is always perfectly made up, artfully lit, airbrushed to perfection, positioned in a way that flatters her form, and likely whittled down by copious artful editing before any image goes to print. The result? A radiant and perfectly curved being who no longer closely resembles the industry icon we know and admire. Sure it’s been going on for decades, with the heavily edited versions of celebrity photographs and magazine covers barely resembling the initial photo, much less the person it seems to portray, but better photo tools and the normalization of cosmetic surgery and procedures seem to blur the line between real and end result. And while some celebrities speak out against the heavily photo edited versions of themselves, others seem to accept it as part of the Hollywood packaged artifice.

I’ve always been a bit creeped out, if not actually concerned by the long-term potential effects of Snapchat filters or apps like Facetune. Both mediums seem to encourage unrealistic beauty ideals (along with the bunny ears and kooky eyeglasses) including heavy contouring, highlighting and filtered enhancements that make the user look preternaturally perfect. It was cute when you could add a Game of Thrones or Wonder Woman filter, but downright disturbing when reality TV stars started heavily sharing images of their small children’s tiny perfect faces distorted by full makeup filters. reported on the newly coined Snapchat dysmorphia which builds off of body dysmorphia, the condition in which a person obsessively focuses on only their physical faults, sometimes for hours a day. Notably ironic is the fact that the term for focusing on the obsession with looking perfect online was coined by Dr Tijion Esho, a U.K. based cosmetic doctor who is part of the cast of a reality TV show called (wait for it) Body Fixers.



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