Has Social Media Led to a Spike in Plastic Surgery?

This article discusses the recent spike in plastic surgery and the surveys which point to social media as the culprit for this trend.  Now, in addition to the red carpet and magazines, people are constantly bombarded with pictures of friends; and there is an increased movement of social media to be the central place for “seeing and being seen.”

A study from Berlin found that scanning friend’s Facebook pages and photos can trigger feelings of envy and even loneliness.  An additional study by the TODAY show surveyed 7,000 Americans to find that 42% of moms suffer from “Pintress stress” where they worry they are not as creative as other moms and this can lead to late night hours looking for things such as inspiring birthday themes for parties.

The American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery’s annual poll reported that “social media activity may be driving an uptick in plastic surgery requests.”  Surgeons are seeing a 31% increase in plastic surgery requests as a result of how people want to present themselves on social media.

The article also states that in the social world we live in, people must expect that they are ‘Googled’ or ‘Facebooked’ before meeting someone personally or professionally.  Especially with a community increase in online dating, potential dates are generally screened by their looks before getting a chance to know someone’s personality.

In addition to the article in Time  Magazine, there was recent press around Emma Watson blaming social media for ‘shortening’ childhood.  She claimed that young girls are more prone to worry about their looks and no longer have a time of innocence where young girls are not concerned with their looks.

I would like to pose the following questions:

  • Do you think social media can cause lower self-esteem?  Do you think social media could have led to an increase in plastic surgery requests?
  • Do you agree with Emma Watson in her opinion that social media causes young girls to lose their innocence and the blissful period in life of not worrying so much about their looks?  Most of us are a few years too old to have experienced the uproar of social media at such a young age (elementary school to high school).  Think about younger family members that may have grown up with social media; do you think they view themselves differently than you viewed yourself when you were their age?
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3 thoughts on “Has Social Media Led to a Spike in Plastic Surgery?

  1. This is an interesting topic for me because I work in the fashion/beauty sector.

    I have to wonder whether social media is to blame for people’s low self esteem and feeling the for need plastic surgery. I would believe that something more serious, more deep routed would be the cause of those issues, and using social media to negatively compare yourself is one of the ways it manifests.

    I think the great thing about social media is you can be in control of the content you receive and how you choose to engage. You can block people and never have to interact with them again. You can customize your settings to filter out the content you don’t want and create privacy for yourself. I realize it is not always quite that easy, there are lots of social pressures to keep up appearances.

    I do have to say, I am a bit relieved that social media as we have it today was not around when I was in high school. I know I personally did not have the best judgement in high school and I think a lot of young people are making bad decisions and learning difficult lessons through social media.

  2. A very interesting post. I have just posted about the Dove Real Beauty campaign which sings to women’s in-depth insecurities with the goal of making women feel better about themselves (although ultimately the goal is to sell beauty products). Fashion and beauty brands do well on social media because they appeal to powerful emotional drivers in customers. People like to compare styles and comment on the way other’s look – often in a negative way.
    It has always been that way from the playground to the water cooler. But social media provides an exponential extension of these more traditional discussion platforms. Sometimes this can create positive feeling – like the Dove campaign appears to – but sometimes this can be very negative and make people more aware of the way they look to such a degree they feel they need to change physically. Social media isn’t to blame for insecurities but it can make them more acute.

  3. Dove campaign created a positive impact on how people perceive themselves, however, other social media may have created negative impact on people.
    An example of this would be instagram. I’ve noticed a trend where people are constantly posting their thigh gaps and bikini shots on instagram. Teenage girls are exposed to these f body images, and they follow.
    While socialization is an important part of teens life experience, parents should address how to find positive ways of interacting with social media to create a healthier experience.

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