“Let’s call it the year 2000. At any rate, imagine a time int the future when science has developed the means of giving everyone the face and body he dreams of.”Rod Serling, writer and producer of The Twilight Zone
I remember watching this Twilight Zone episode and thinking how weird it would be if on our 18th birthday, we all chose a body mold to conform ourselves to in order to be accepted into society. A perfectly pretty little society.
Except that it kind of is that way.
Many young girls dream of their 18th birthday so they can get boob jobs. Or nose jobs. Or whatever other trend has become popular. Of course, for those who don’t have the means (or don’t want the commitment of surgery), there are simple Instagram filters that do the job. My favorite past time recently has been scrolling through Instagram accounts dedicated to showing celebrity’s Instagram vs real life photos. Some of them I might never recognize out in public. (I shouldn’t criticize though. Perhaps the same could go for me, even if I try to keep my photo editing to a minimum.) I find myself laughing about these same ideas.
Oh, a touch of filler here, a little bit of cosmetic surgery there.
You know, just to fix the bump in my nose.
Or smooth out those less than perfect under eyes.
And how I would love a nice eyebrow lift.
Everything completely subtle, of course.
I used to think I was joking. Until I realized one day that I was kind of totally serious. If I had money to spend, I would likely invest in something like that. But then I would cease to be me… or would I? How does the reflection we see in the mirror help construct our inner narrative/identity/even personality? Maybe I’m being too pseudo-philosophical.
But when you change everything physical about you, how can you not look in the mirror and feel like a different person? All it takes is a few needles and you’re a brand new woman. I totally get why celebrities do it. While it’s more common for women to be scrutinized for their use of cosmetic surgery, there is no doubt that men in Hollywood undergo the same procedures to prevent the dreaded aging process that everyone seems to fear.
Then in walks Instagram Face.
Instagram Face: What is it and how is it affecting your life?
Instagram face, a term coined by New Yorker journalist Jia Tolentino, describes the look that many Instagram influencers and/or models have developed in recent years: “a single, cyborgian look.”
The Fashion Industry Broadcast (FIB) also commented on this new craze, saying that “these influencers represent a departure from the heavily-contoured and perfectly-highlighted looks that dominated our feeds five years ago… and these faces look natural to an unknowing audience.”
Think of all your favorite IG models. Bella Hadid, Emily Ratawhatever, Kim K. I don’t know who else. (Those are just the fist ones who came to mind.) Perfectly sculpted bodies aside, look at their faces. Plump lips, fox eyes, thin noses. Something exotic yet equally not about them. As Tolentino put it, “a beauty ideal that favored white women capable of manufacturing a look of rootless exoticism. ”
In other words, unattainable.
Why is this happening? It’s trendy, true. But is there something beneath it?
“In a world where women are rewarded for youth and beauty in a way that they are rewarded for nothing else,” Tolentino says, “—and where a strain of mainstream feminism teaches women that self-objectification is progressive, because it’s profitable—cosmetic work might seem like one of the few guaranteed high-yield projects that a woman could undertake.”
So, right about now, you might be saying, “But Kristen, I’m not a social media influencer. Nor am I obsessed with them. Nor do I care about plastic surgery.” That all may very well be true. But unfortunately, this issue still does affect you.
Unless you are someone completely detached from the impact of constant social media and advertising (and the chances of that are slim-to-none), then this affects you. It affects your image of yourself and others.
These ideas of beauty have always been there, yes, but with the Internet they are reinforced more than we have seen in past generations, and this can in turn produce possibly dangerous effects on our society. The problem is, we can’t really know because we are too immersed in it and social media is too much of a new craze for us to see the long-term.
The point is: you have now entered the Twilight Zone. So, what do you choose–Number 12 or Number 8?
(If you didn’t get that reference, watch the video at the top of this post.)
As George Orwell so punctually and profoundly stated, “At 50 every man has the face he deserves.” Seems kind of unfair that we get to now escape that fate with a simple injection of Botox into our cheeks or forehead.
Maybe I’m being too dramatic. Will this revelation stop me from using those fancy Instagram filters that instantly give you the perfect bone structure? No, probably not. Also, I wear makeup everyday. That, too, changes my face. Maybe this is no different.
Yet I can’t help but have this feeling that what’s happening with Instagram Face is something completely different, with consequences we’re not yet able to see.
What do you think?
Until next time,
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