Things Are Not as They Appear: Selfie Dysphoria and Lies Social Media Tells

It is not just that people are obsessed with taking selfies, they are obsessed with taking the perfect selfie. Thanks to apps like FaceTune your college roommate can lift her eyebrows, remove her pores and make her nose smaller just to post a profile picture on Facebook or Instagram.

We have lived in a culture obsessed with “beauty” and perfection for a long time. For years photoshopped images of long-legged, flawless, and waif-thin models have stared at us while we stand in line at the grocery store. We all know when the red carpet rolls out, men and women will pose for the hundreds of photographers, arms and legs angled “just so,” and we will wonder who they are wearing and if they ever eat. Impossible standards have been raised for decades, but until recently, that was only “famous people” or “models.” When we stood for pictures with our friends, or snapped a quick photo at an event, we all looked the same, we all looked real.

Times have certainly changed. We live in a culture where selfitis is an actual diagnosis of a new mental disorder. It is not just that people are obsessed with taking selfies, they are obsessed with taking the perfect selfie. Thanks to social media platforms such as SnapChat and Instagram, there is a new level of “fame” that can be attained by garnering thousands of followers all clicking and swiping to see completely doctored images being passed off as real.

It isn’t just Instagram models that are photoshopping away their pores and flattening their tummies. Thanks to apps like FaceTune your college roommate can lift her eyebrows, remove her pores and make her nose smaller just to post a “profile picture” on Facebook or Instagram.

So what happens when every image you see is fake? Or worse, what happens when you change your appearance in photos so often you no can longer look at yourself in real life and be happy?  Many plastic surgeons say it has created a major increase in procedures like botox and fillers in teens as young as 16 or 17 years old. But as one physician points out, patients are no longer coming in asking for Jennifer Aniston’s nose, they are bringing in filtered photos of themselves with expectations that are literally impossible to replicate.

Thankfully, companies like Dove exist and are trying to combat the lies with truth. The truth is, there is no one definition of beauty, and a taut jawline and smooth forehead are not requirements for being beautiful. This video reveals the sobering reality of the toll the messages from the culture take on real women and here is another that reveals how hard it is for women, in particular, to see themselves the way others do. Search “Dove Real Beauty Campaign” and allow yourself to be reminded that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Next time you find yourself scrolling through your social media feeds and feeling insecure or less than, ask yourself “is this real?” Chances are it isn’t.  And even if your friends aren’t using FaceTune to change their appearance, the lives people present on social media are not real. We were made for relationship, and we thrive when we interact with real people, in real life. No one’s value is assigned to them via SnapChat, and no one finds true fulfillment in the number of followers they have. Stop comparing yourself to the images on your phone. Call a friend, go to lunch, have coffee, talk to each other and remember that

There are a thousand things about you that are beautiful and worth celebrating and none of them can be captured in the perfect selfie.
— Dr. Valerie Liao
LoriJean ReedComment