The Quest for Perfection

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One of Snapchat’s iconic features are the wide variety of filters available to users to enhance their photos. These filters allow for voice changes, virtual reality characters to appear in photos, background changes, and music. Recently however, other features of these filters, like skin smoothing, lip enhancing, and eye enlargement, are being used for a completely different purpose for which they were not intended- a reference for plastic surgery in teen users.

After Kylie Jenner sent out a tweet about not using Snapchat anymore (which resulted in a $1 billion dollar drop in stock), one would think that Snapchat lost some of its sparkle. Apparently, that is not the case. Plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman has termed this phenomenon as “Snapchat Dysmorphia.” Dr. Schulman says that young patients come in asking for the features that filters provide them with. A set of physical characteristics that have been deemed as beautiful by Western beauty standards. It has not gotten to the point where clients come in asking for flower crowns and dog ears to be implanted into their skulls, but Dr. Schulman says that clients come in and tell him something like this, “…that’s what they want to look like and then they are coming to me and saying I want smoother skin, I want my eyes to be opened up, I want my lips to be fuller.”  

How did this come about? The problem stemmed from teens constantly using these filters. They are addicted to this “improved” version of themselves. The app allows users to see themselves in this altered state through the lens of other people, a reflection of themselves. This instance has been deemed a problem because users are experiencing a negative effect on their self esteem- not only because of the pressure to be perfect from the media, but what they see in role models and celebrities that flood their feed with these edited photos. Not only are teenagers having to compare themselves to the unattainable standards set by the media, but we now have to compete against ourselves in a competition that does not exist, a game we will never win in the quest for perfection.  

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