Beauty trends come and go from the nineties, super-thin ‘kate moss’ eyebrows to today’s no-makeup makeup look. Trends and fashion tend to change with time while people scramble to fit in. One such trend of the last five years has been beauty filters, more popularly Snapchat. Snapchat is a social media app that allows people to take their selfies and send them to friends. It seems harmless enough and funs even. But the reality of this situation is dire and shocking.
Snapchat is known for its face blurring filters, with rosy cheeks to dog face to cat ears, whatever you want, you’ll find it on Snapchat. While funny animal filters seem entertaining and cool, face altering filter or blurring can lead to toxic expectations of one’s body.
Scientists have coined the term ‘Snapchat Body Dysmorphia’. The nightmare trend began a few years ago when plastic surgeons noticed a large influx of patients who came in with unrealistic demands.
Usually, for plastic surgery, people come in with a defined outlook of what they want. It is pretty famous for people to bring in images of their favourite celebrities and ask for their specific looks. Be it Jennifer Lopez’s sharp nose or Angelina Jolie’s pout. The feeling of unhappiness with your body mixed with unrealistic standards posed by celebrities had women running to their nearest plastic surgeon.
But the newest trend in this cycle of self-hate and unrealistic expectations is people coming in not with pictures of famous women but of themselves!
As shocking as that sounds, the reason lies in Snapchat’s fun filters. Snapchat uses not only funny and noticeable filters. Nowadays, filters slightly alter your appearances, like nose contouring, fuller lips, or an angular jawline. All these effects might seem insignificant in theory, but seeing your face through altered images creates an unrealistic self standard.
What we forget is that large eyes, flawless skin with no texture, a perfect jaw and a sharp nose are unattainable. Having filters on might start as a harmless entertainment act and quickly turn into toxic self-hatred and unhappiness with yourself. Slowly people have lost perspective of genuine, authentic body standards.
While it might be too early for ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ to become a significant problem big enough to take centre stage and find real solutions, it moves in that direction. Although no actions have been taken against Snapchat holding them accountable, it is probably not their mistake alone but of people who are easily swayed by the insecurities in their minds as well. Time will tell if this unattainable beauty trend stays or leaves. If you feel similar symptoms in your self seeking counselling, you could help you come to terms with your issues and lead a healthier life.