New Infographic Detailing How Selfies Are Damaging Our Self Image

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How many selfies do you take in a day? Or a week? How many do you post on social media? Do you remember a time when you didn’t worry so much about how you looked in a photograph? According to a new infographic created by a Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery and marketing company Connect Theory, selfies are damaging our self-image.

They seem like harmless fun, and sure, they are fun to do with friends, out and about, celebrating exciting times and whatnot. But what about the individual effect it has on us?

Celebrities, US Presidents & approximately 50% of all Americans are taking selfies. From apps like Instagram to Facetime the front-facing camera is always watching us. According to the graphic below there are approx 40 million selfies out there on the interwebs! For the plastic surgery industry this has turned into big business. Yep, there has been a sharp increase in the number of optional plastic surgeries due to the rise in selfie culture.

A recent press release from the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) claims over 58% of their membership have noticed a sharp increase in millennials seeking a upgrade to their social presence.

“The study uncovered that 1 in 3 AAFPRS members saw an increase in requests for procedures due to patients being more self aware of looks in social media. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram and the skyrocketing popularity of SELFIES, more people than ever seem fixated by perceived ‘flaws’,” the statement said.

“The increasing influence and accessibility of the Internet and its vast network of information is changing the way prospective patients approach plastic surgery,” says Stephen S. Park, MD, FACS, president of the AAFPRS.

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Judging from the visual below from Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery center there’s been a significant uptick in several popular cosmetic procedures of late. At the top of the heap were nose jobs (increase of 10%) to eyelid surgeries (increase of 6%). With social media playing a larger role in all our lives this trend is bound to become more prominent.

Not too long ago Glamour magazine released the results of a study they did regarding body image. It was the same study they did 30 years previously, and the main finding was that due to social media, our collective body image has gotten worse. In 1984 they found 41% of women surveyed were unhappy with their bodies and felt “too fat”. In 2014, the number increased to 54%, with the study subjects claiming simply looking in the mirror makes them feel bad. Yikes!

“The biggest thing that stands out is social media,” said Jesse Fox, Ph.D from Ohio State University whose lab investigates women’s body image and who helped Glamour magazine with their survey. “In the 2014 survey, a huge number of women—64 percent—report that looking at pictures on sites like Facebook and Instagram makes them feel bad about their body.”

“It’s totally driven by the selfie trend and video chatting,” says Samuel J. Beran, M.D., a plastic surgeon in New York City. “Everyone thinks their nose is too big, they need fillers, or that their left boob is lower than their right.”

Lara Pence, Psy.D., a body image specialist at the Renfrew Center, an eating disorders program, isn’t shocked. “So many women have gotten onto this path of constantly needing validation from others ‘liking’ or pinning their photos,” she says. “At the end of the day, even if you have a fairly decent body image, you’re not going to feel good enough.”

1.8 billion photos are uploaded and shared every day on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, and WhatsApp alone. That’s bound to have a huge impact on how we view ourselves, and overwhelmingly the results are bad.

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Glamour’s survey said they spend an average of nearly four and a half hours a day online, and more than two hours just on social media alone. And our data found that the more time women spent online each day, the more self-conscious they tended to be about their body.

Social media can be very deceiving, as we all know. Anyone can dupe the public into thinking they are someone they are not, or that they lead a life they clearly don’t have offline. It’s the same for body image. With the inclusion of filters, photoshop and simple editing techniques often incorporated in many social media apps that have a photograph feature, you will be hard pressed to find an image that hasn’t been altered. Except perhaps that cool grandma of yours who you somehow convinced to join Facebook, there’s a good chance she doesn’t filter her pics. Keep it real Grams…

In January 2014 Dove premiered their ground-breaking short film called ‘Selfie’ at the Sundance Film Festival and it was the talk of the town for quite a while. In true signature Dove style, it examined the link between society, culture and the effect it has on young women’s body image. The documentary found an overwhelming sense of self-loathing in the teen girls featured, as well as in their moms. The idea was to point out the growing epidemic that is happening quietly, yet ferociously.

The issue of low self-esteem is not going to be cured by something like plastic surgery, let’s just make that clear. And if you talking to many of the leading surgeons, especially in an image-obsessed city like Beverly Hills, many of them refuse to operate on women and men who simply want to improve their looks just because they feel bad.

There have been certain campaigns that try to change the perception of selfies by using it as a means to promote something positive. Just look at the viral #nomakeupselfie campaign and how it enabled women to upload an image of themselves flaws and all because it had a deeper meaning behind it.

Dr. Randal Haworth, a plastic surgeon who was interviewed by our editor in chief Asha Dahya said you have to look into the psychology of a person who’s asking for a procedure, and if they are simply looking for affirmation he will turn them away.

“They look at me and ask me ‘what do I need’ and I say ‘well actually nothing’. We’re turning down a lot more people because I think a lot more people have unrealistic expectations [because of] the selfie craze,” he said.

“A lot of the time they don’t understand that plastic surgery is a really serious business, so it’s all about instilling realistic expectations.”

The reality is we can’t escape selfies, but in order to continue fostering body positivity and not compare ourselves with the images we see on social media and online, we have to truly value ourselves and source our self-worth from within, not without. Watch the video interview with Dr. Randall Haworth above, as he shares some very valuable information and breaks down myths about plastic surgery.

Here is the infographic which shares information and statistics about the rise in connection between selfies and plastic surgery.

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