Me, my selfie and I

September 25th, 2018

Last month the Journal of the American Medical Association Facial Plastic Surgery published information about a new disorder, “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” which is being diagnosed by plastic surgeons whose clients want to look like their filtered selfies. Snapchat, along with other social- media and photo apps have filters that can create clear complexion and a smaller nose, make eyes larger and set wider, whiten teeth, erase wrinkles, lighten skin tone and add fun extras like puppy ears. Increasingly, plastic surgeons are reporting people wanting procedures to create looks that are impossible to achieve in real life. For several years, doctors have been trained to look for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), in which patients perceive body imperfections and are willing to do anything to correct them. But Snapchat Dysmorphia is different in that the imperfections are not seen in a mirrored reflection. Instead they are perceived when compared to the altered pictures of themselves.

Impossible looks

Teens are already vulnerable during adolescence to criticisms about their appearance. Trying to fit in is a constant struggle, partly because their bodies are rapidly changing. Teens naturally compare and evaluate themselves against others during this stage of development. But instead of wanting to look like airbrushed photos of celebrities, now they are comparing themselves to their friends’ perfectly altered images seen in social-media feeds and to their own altered images. The JAMA article concludes: “It can be argued that these apps are making us lose touch with reality because we expect to look perfectly primped and filtered in real life as well. Filtered selfies especially can have harmful effects on adolescents or those with BDD because these groups may more severely internalize this beauty standard.”

Perfectly imperfect

Humans have always and will always look for ways to change and/or improve their appearance. This newest phenomenon is preventable if we take the time to share our insecurities and affirm for one another that our value and our beauty come from who we are on the inside as unique creations of God.

Question of the day: How often do you use filters to make selfies look better?
Focal scriptures: Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 2:1-4; 1 Peter 3:3-4

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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