We asked freelance designers from 15 different countries to edit a neutral photo of a woman based on popular cosmetic procedures in their culture, leading to some interesting results…
Cosmetic surgery procedures are nothing new, but these days more of us are getting nipped and tucked than ever. Why? The influence of social media, smartphones, and image-editing apps, from FaceTube to Instagram filters, mean we’re now exposed to unrealistic expectations 24/7.
It’s no wonder people feel the pressure to achieve perfection. But now that we have the ability to fix every minor issue and imperfection we see, is the future of beauty heading towards us all just looking the same? We wanted to explore this idea by comparing the norms of cosmetic procedures in countries across the globe.
One look at our collage and you can see that, when placed side-by-side, the images returned are strikingly similar. Alterations from editors were mostly minor, mainly focusing on enhancing the mouth or very slightly amending eye and/or nose shape. The country with the most changes was South Korea, where the face was heart-shaped with a sharper chin and smaller lips.
Overall, the end result was a shift to a more ‘streamlined’ and ‘perfected’ look. So why did so many of the pictures, edited by strangers in different corners of the globe, have so much in common? You can see the impact of “Insta face” here — the influence of a globalized idea of beauty, which results in countries across the world striving to achieve an idealized image that is then reflected back at them, to create a snowball effect across social media.
From Italy to Brazil and beyond, the most popular procedures we found were lip augmentation and rhinoplasty — lip fillers and nose jobs. Either one or both of these were among the most popular in the majority of nations.
Lip fillers, as a non-surgical and often temporary procedure, have gained popularity due to widespread celebrity use, based on ideas around symmetry equaling beauty.
The use of artificial eye bags in Japan is one of the most intriguing differences. In most nations, products that reduce bags and puffiness are popular, while a ‘flat' face can be seen as undesirable in Japan.
I think that each country has a specific standard of what 'beauty' is and they want the female photo to conform to that specific set of guidelines and requirements.
The recent trend in plastic surgery I think has a lot to do with the unrealistic filters on photos. You can make yourself look great on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat but people want to see that all the time now, and the way to do that is by plastic surgery. The distorted body image is not getting better, it is getting worse and, in most countries, there are drastic changes that are expected.Dr. Cali EstesPhD, MCAP, ICADC, MAC, #1 Best Selling Author, CEO and Founder of The Addictions Coach.
Just as we’ve transferred the majority of our lives onto the virtual plane, standards for beauty have become intertwined with social media filters, edited photos, and unrealistic body proportions.
Beauty standards have become diluted through the lens of illusion and unreality. The important distinction is motivation for cosmetic surgery. We need to identify the impact of social media and how it’s created a distorted lens through which we are viewing the world.Dr. Sabrina RomanoffPsyD. clinical psychologist @the.modern.psychologist
We began our project by selecting a neutral portrait of a woman, who had no make-up or accessories.
We gave this same image to freelance designers in 15 different countries around the globe. We chose designers from countries where cosmetic procedure numbers are among the highest, to take part in the project.
These freelancers were then asked to edit the photo to reflect the most popular cosmetic procedures, and therefore the beauty norms, ideals and aspirations of their nation.
In some cases, the designers chose to add accessories or subtle makeup where they felt it added more authenticity to the image of their culture.