Featured Posts

To top
14 Nov

This culture of dissecting other people’s looks needs to

Picking apart celebrity faces may seem to be harmless entertainment, but we aren’t consuming it consequence-free

My teenage years coincided, quite unfortunately, with the peak of Heat magazine. Week after week, I might examine one of the best celebrity tummies, the worst summer bodies, the highest 20 celebrity “flaws” – Uma Thurman’s big hands, Emma Bunton’s large brow – the cellulite, the sweat patches, the tanning disasters. All of them dissected and analysed in excruciating detail. 

Uma Thurman and Emma Bunton may or may not have seen the zoomed in paparazzi pictures of their so-called flaws splashed across the covers, but every young girl and boy with a “large brow” or “big hands” reading at home definitely felt rather a lot shittier about themselves. To today, I can’t have a look at my cellulite without my brain unhelpfully conjuring up an enormous red circle across the offending area. And after pouring over issue after issue dedicated to rating summer bodies, years later I still find myself buying high-waisted bikini bottoms to cover my stomach on the beach. 

Heat magazine, thankfully, doesn’t hold the cultural sway it used to – but its toxic culture of scrutinising a star’s every feature can, unfortunately, now be found alive and well on social media. Not focused on just their natural “flaws”, the brand new breed of gotcha-content making is devoted to uncovering and exposing celebrity modifications, each surgical and photoshopped. 

With clinical precision, eagle-eyed Instagram and TikTok accounts pick apart celebrity “transformations”, highlighting the straighter noses and teeth, the Facetuned wrinkles and waists, the lifted brows, the plumper lips and greater boobs. Lots of the people behind these accounts are skilled plastic surgeons, who use their knowledge and credibility to make claims about what procedures they consider celebrities have undergone. Surgeons like Dr Daniel Barrett and Dr Charles S Lee have racked up tens of millions of followers and views on TikTok from posting in regards to the “cosmetic surgery secrets” of public figures.

But recently things have taken an much more sinister turn, because now it isn’t nearly what celebrities could have had done – increasingly attentions are turning to what they should have done. Accounts like @goddess.women and @photoshoppe are dedicated to photoshopping celebrities and giving them imagined cosmetic procedures, taking it upon themselves to “improve” the areas they think celebs are lacking in. @virtualplasticsurgeon – promoted by Dr Michael Keyes, an actual cosmetic surgeon behind Instagram account @CelebrityPlastics – takes it one step further by listing the simulated treatments. Model Jeanne Cadieu, for instance, is given the next procedures: hairline lowering, brow filler, endoscopic brow lift, temporal implants, cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty, v to y lip lift, and jaw reduction.

The backlash is beginning to begin against these kind of practices, nonetheless. Over the weekend, Miranda Wilson, an aesthetic nurse practitioner with 40K TikTok followers posted a video by which she detailed what forms of procedures she would give Stranger Things actress Natalia Dyer. Saying she would start by “treating those masseters” to slim down the face, Wilson goes on so as to add chin filler, lip filler, Botox and a brow lift – “to assist open up her eyes” – to the list. She then ends with a photoshopped image of Dyer to indicate what the outcomes would appear like. 

People were, understandably, angered and upset by the video. Twitter user @probablypersian reposted the clip with the caption, “i could never be a star because if someone made a video like this about me i’d get violent”. In only three days it has gained over 460K likes and 2000 comments, overwhelmingly negative.  

The incontrovertible fact that the brand new and “improved” photoshopped Dyer looks absolutely ridiculous is besides the purpose. At a time after we are in a self-esteem crisis, when eating disorder rates are skyrocketing, when half of each men and ladies experience body dysmorphia, giving unsolicited “improvements” and criticism about someone’s face is gross and degrading. Coming from a one that has the facility to influence how individuals are changing their faces on a day by day basis, it’s irresponsible, dangerous and unethical.

Many individuals also identified how these sorts of tactics are sometimes a capitalist ploy to push services or products by playing on people’s insecurities. “One thing they taught young me in promoting (before I left it) is that our job was to destroy self-worth. By targeting someone people hold as extremely beautiful, they’re targeting your self-worth greater than they’re Natalia Dyer,” activist Rafael Shimunov wrote on Twitter in relation to Wilson’s post. 

And it appears to be working. Many individuals within the comments spoke out about how they might have been influenced by videos similar to these in additional vulnerable stages of their lives. “I actually have struggled with body image since I can remember, especially things just like the shape of my jaw and face,” one commenter wrote. “If I had seen this after I was 15 I might have been attempting to determine which possessions I could sell to get this done on myself.”

Wilson has since removed the video and said she “didn’t mean to offend anyone”. But she is only a symptom, quite than the cause, of our toxic culture of body shaming. In the case of celebrities or people in the general public eye, often the justification given is that it’s a method to help us non-famous people feel higher about ourselves. “Don’t panic! Famous people get it too!” reads the byline for Heat’s cellulite shaming 2004 cover story. This line of reasoning has been passed all the way down to the subsequent generation. 

“The web has so many lies. Some people tell me on the day by day that my account boosts their self-esteem because now they know that influencers are usually not perfect and that they’ve flaws or insecurities,” the anonymous user behind Exposingallcelebs, an Instagram that chronicles the visual transformations of celebrities, told Dazed Beauty in 2019.

The need to lift the veil for the sake of transparency and the conceit of many is comprehensible. Nevertheless, whether the intentions are good or bad, this dissection of individuals’s bodies, famous or not, is causing us more damage than good. Picking apart celebrity faces may seem to be harmless entertainment but we aren’t consuming it harmlessly. It’s toxic, not only for the themes, but for everybody. “If you start viewing celebrities as a mix of body parts that you’re going to be the judge of, the chances are high that you’ll find yourself treating other people in your life and yourself in the identical way,” says Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at Cambridge’s Anglia Ruskin University, who specialises in body image and human appearance.

After analysing, feature by feature, a star’s face, the subsequent time you look within the mirror likelihood is you’ll start studying your personal face in the identical way, analysing and diagnosing every small perceived flaw and opportunity for improvement. All we’re really doing, Swami says, is training ourselves to be hyper-aware of each feature and each “fault,” and this awareness only results in finding faults in ourselves. “When people view these images, they find yourself feeling more anxious about their bodies, they’ve lower self-esteem, they usually’re rather more more likely to be willing to contemplate cosmetic surgery in the longer term,” he says.

Faces needs to be different and interesting. Watching @photoshoppe take celebrities’ faces and edit them all the way down to fit a “perfect” ratio, erasing every unique and distinguishing aspect of them, over and once more is depressing. Seeing plastic surgeons or medical professionals mould faces to provide the identical bland look over and once more is bleak. Why should all of us just appear like one generic, just-add-water-Insta girl? As author Sarah Manavis commented after viewing Wilson’s TikTok: “Social media has done numerous terrible things, and plenty of are far worse, but popularising the pervasive concept that beauty means everyone having the very same face is up there.”

Recommended Products

Beauty Tips
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.