Filtering Out the Fake


Full lips. Wide eyes. Thin faces.

By Mary Keith

A few of the common features on Instagram’s face filters include smaller chins, higher cheeks, thinner noses and larger lips. Users have been able to create and upload their own filters, which include an overwhelming amount of recent beauty standards. Filters, such as “Princess Carolyn”, “Catfish Filter”, “Soho” and “Lines” are promoting what society currently deems as beautiful, and if the 2000’s thin eyebrow trend taught us anything, it’s that beauty standards are impermanent.


Despite trends changing, there has been an increase in plastic surgery requests since the release of Instagram’s face filters in May 2017. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, total cosmetic procedures increased by two percent from 2017 to 2018. Of the 17.7 million procedures in 2018, over half were specifically geared towards the face, most frequently in the form of Botox, chemical peels or soft tissue fillers. Further, about 55% of patients seeking cosmetic changes show their surgeon a desired photo of themselves with a face filter, known as “selfie dysmorphia.” This has led surgeons to do a psychological test for whether or not the patients should undergo changes at all.

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The diagnosis for “selfie dysmorphia” is Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the obsessive behavior associated with discontent about a specific body feature, and is prevalent in about two percent of the population. The disorder is what ultimately leads patients to seek out dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as well as often engage in eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. Unfortunately, it makes sense why so many feel the need to take extravagant measures just to fit into current society.  A study found that more objectively beautiful people tend to have better career and relationship success. In this case, those dissatisfied with their appearances may use their “technoself” to portray themselves as their social media presence via face filters, only to seek out those results in their real lives, too.

In a world encompassed by technology, it’s hard to miss influencers promoting the latest and greatest trend. For instance, 94% of women aged 18-24 are likely to follow the advice of Youtube stars and Instagram models, according to a study regarding the top 10 Youtube channels and their promotion of lip fillers. Beauty has so much power in societies and young adults are constantly being pressured to change something or try something new. The constant need for validation of one’s attractiveness is what ultimately leads to the disorders for individuals to seek out cosmetic changes.

On the other hand, individuals who thoughtfully plan on receiving cosmetic procedures tend to have positive outcomes. A study revealed that women who had undergone plastic surgery ended up having more sex and more enjoyable sex as a direct result of feeling confident in their bodies. Further, a woman may have breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy to help her feel comfortable and feminine again. Cosmetic procedures can help people gain confidence and accept themselves,so your body, your choice. Live your best life and do what’s right for you! 

People should remember that attractiveness isn’t based on beauty alone. A study found that people are found more attractive based on things that they could control, such as smiling more, communicating well, being a good listener, dressing to impress and focusing on self-care. People who are confident in their looks and personalities have the power to fight the stigma against unattainable beauty standards set by trends in society that are ultimately subject to change.