This week the world’s largest association of facial plastic surgeons, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), shared some interesting and somewhat troubling data from their annual survey. It’s probably news you wish weren’t true, but it turns out, more and more people are opting for facial plastic surgery so they can look better in selfies.
The accessibility of smartphones has dramatically influenced almost every aspect of our lives, but perhaps most substantially in the ways we regard our self-image. The selfie, which has become such an entrenched part of our culture that it’s officially entered the English lexicon (and was named 2013’s ‘Word of the Year’ by Oxford Dictionaries), is shifting how we make major life decisions. 55 per cent of surgeons are reporting that patients are electing for plastic surgery just to look good their selfies. This number has increased by 13 per cent from last year.
From online dating, sharing with friends, even sharing your professional profile online, the ubiquity of selfies can mean feeling pressure to have the perfect face. And long have we come from the days of MySpace selfies, with 16 year-olds positioning their cameras at flattering angles in their bedrooms.
But we’re not just talking filters, or entire apps that help you ‘tweak’ your appearance (FaceTune, anybody?) to share the most glossy projection possible. It seems trends in cosmetic plastic surgeries are showing that people are determined to look like their FaceTuned selves off the screen too.
Dubbing it ‘selfie awareness’, the AAFPRS believes this trend is on track to become more widespread. In fact, the AAFPRS’s President, William H. Truswell, MD, commented in a press release stating, “Consumers are only a swipe away from finding love and a new look, and this movement is only going to get stronger.” We sure hope they’re wrong – but they literally have the numbers on this.
If this all sounds a little bit nightmarish dystopian future to you, well, we don’t blame you. To some degree, it’s not much of a surprise, even if pretty bleak. The arbiter of modern social media, Kim Kardashian West, has managed to build an empire on the impulse to photograph flawlessly, filling an entire book, Selfish, with her selfies. So the move towards permanent alteration may just be a sign of the times.