From flirting to body dysmorphia and the obsession with beauty filters

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The phenomenon of social networks has caused indisputable changes in the media paradigm and in brand and product marketing. Part of this revolution is encouraged by the figure of the prescriber or influencer, people with the ability to position a message in the mind of a wide audience, move the purchase of a certain product and even unconsciously influence values, ideals and perceptions of his followers through informal and personal attitudes.

At present, the work of these “influencers” is one of the most demanded and socially accepted marketing techniques to generate trust, despite the fact that its essence is based on a false relationship of friendship with users.

As legal as any other form of traditional advertising, its legitimacy is questioned when the already “normalized” filters of social networks such as Instagram or Snapchat come into play, allowing to improve or change the subject’s own image and, therefore, with the ability to transform the qualities and properties of the product.

Porcelain skins and without the slightest hint of imperfections have been the trigger for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s advertising self-control body, to have raised the alarm against the abuse of so-called beauty filters (beauty filters ) by numerous influencers when promoting cosmetics.

Deceptive fantasy of reality

The use of these filters not only works as misleading advertising in this line of products, but also opens the door to the so-called body dysmorphia – distortion of the image itself – of a fundamentally young public (between 15 and 30 years old) and female.

In an era in which we choose what to show of our own reality through the networks, defects have no place in the personal profiles of users. Starting with hiding them and ending with obsession, body dysmorphia is characterized by being a mental health disorder in which you cannot stop thinking about one or more defects (real or not) and that normally go unnoticed by others.

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Recent studies establish that filters encourage these imbalances and others, closely related, such as eating disorders (ED), are increasing in a society dominated by the ideals of perfection and beauty distorted by aesthetic patterns disrupted by plastic surgery .

Recently, apps like Snapchat, Facetune, and Instagram have allowed users to digitally alter their face attributes with filters like Top Model and Holy Natural. From filters that make you cry creating a feeling of “romanticization” of sadness; Preset filters that can automatically and easily change facial attributes, such as making lips appear thicker or those that give you a “pinion mouth” effect, those that make your eyes larger or slim down a wide nose.

The different networks offer users endless possibilities with which to achieve a retouched physiognomy, with childish and delicate features, always in accordance with the dominant canons. Its use in selfies and stories to purify the supposed imperfections of the face even leads to the mania of users to the point of resorting to the scalpel to get as close as possible to the best version of their own self-portrait.

Surgery in times of selfie

Research published in The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery demonstrates a significant increase in the prevalence of facial cosmetic surgery procedures in the last decade, fueled by low self-esteem. In fact, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has reported that more and more patients are coming to clinics with their own photos altered with these filters, in contrast to past trends in which patients featured celebrity photos or descriptions. generic values ​​of the desired change.

Along the same lines, the Spanish Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SECPRE) points out, on the one hand, that 1 in 10 patients resort to consultation stimulated by their own modified images through a social network and the consequent applause of His Followers; and, on the other hand, that requests are increasingly impossible, which leads to dissatisfaction in patients and in many cases, depression and even post-traumatic stress.

Despite these data, body dysmorphia is not only the result of a digitized society. The use and consequences of the different filters is a matter that goes beyond individual responsibility and that can also depend on the genetic predispositions of each person (for example, people who already suffer from a self-image disorder – such as an ED – have more probabilities of being victims of the depersonalization caused by these “special effects”).

And, as the writer Jordi Sierra i Fabra used to say, “beauty can be the glory or the ruin of a person, it depends on who wears it, how they wear it, how they use it or who gives it to them.”

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.

The signatories are not salaried, or consultants, nor do they own shares, nor do they receive financing from any company or organization that can obtain benefit from this article, and they have declared that they lack relevant links beyond the academic position mentioned above.

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