The toxic world of TikTok cosmetic surgery

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TikTok cosmetic surgery is a world of Eurocentric beauty standards and feelings of inadequacy.

Over the weekend, an aesthetic nurse practitioner sparked a massive backlash on social media after she shared a video about Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy Wheeler in the Netflix series Stranger Things.

In the video, user @np.miranda describes exactly the cosmetic changes she would recommend if she were Natalia’s injector. Her first suggestion is to “treat” Natalia’s maseeters, as two white arrows point to the part of the actress’ face where her cheekbone connects to her jawline. Next, she plans to add chin filler, so Natalia’s face can look more “heart-shaped.” She then offers to add filler to her lips, but “nothing crazy”, just a “beautiful pout”. Botox is next on the agenda, and she suggests a brow lift to “open up” her eyes, before finally suggesting skin treatments, as she thinks Natalia has pretty thin skin.

At the end of the video, she poses a digitally altered photo of Natalia, an “end product” of the recommended procedures. The image is a distortion of the actress’s face. It doesn’t look like her anymore, but the nurse is proud of her photoshop skills that see an overall thinning of Natalia’s face as well as bigger lips and a completely different face shape.

When the video hit Twitter, many users called the aesthetic nurse, and she ended up posting a video discussing the backlash. In it, she defends herself and says she was “just offering suggestions” of what is possible, rather than insisting that Natalia undergo the treatments. She then posted an old photo of herself and put her image through a similar process, and explained how, through cosmetic procedures, she “treated” her masseters to slim her face, added filler to cheeks and lips and had a brow lift to “even out”. their eyes.

Np.miranda’s TikTok page has over 41,000 followers and his videos have amassed over a million likes. Other content on her channel advises people to get botox in their twenties to “mitigate” aging, or suggests that opting for botox and lip fillers is simply an indication that one is “getting tired”. care” about their appearance. But np.miranda isn’t the only TikToker creating content promoting cosmetic procedures. The botox hashtag has over 3.4 billion views, while botoxchallenge has racked up over 98 million views.

With over a billion users, there’s no denying the cultural influence of TikTok and, therefore, it’s reasonable to be concerned about the content being shared on it. In recent years, many have pointed to the link between Snapchat facial features — which digitally alter the face to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards — and low self-esteem. These filters encourage users to “correct” their face, and as an article published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery found, they can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, inadequacy, and can even trigger body dysmorphic disorder. The hypothetical content of the cosmetic procedure is the natural progression of these filters and is therefore likely to pose similar mental health risks.

The impact such content can have on its viewers becomes particularly insidious when you consider the fact that the majority of such videos exist as marketing techniques. Not only do these videos cause potential harm to those who watch them, but they also function as a mechanism that generates profits and contributes to the plastic surgery industry – a behemoth estimated to be worth over $511 billion. in the world.

Moreover, this content amplifies the troubling values ​​of the industry, which is the one that promotes Eurocentric beauty standards. In this model, certain facial features are seen as problems that need to be “fixed” by medical procedures.

As it stands, most countries restrict social media advertising for cosmetic procedures, but online creators are not bound by these regulations. While I’m not suggesting that cosmetic professionals should be banned from promoting their work, one must recognize the role this content plays in promoting a uniform standard of beauty and consider the risk that unquestionably accompanies its consumption.

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