People have augmented their appearances in all sorts of messed up, creative ways ever since the invention of the mirror. Extreme elective surgery to contort the human body into a closer approximation of an impossible ideal has gone on for thousand of years – and your standard Los Angeles mammoplasty these days looks positively relaxing compared to the prolonged, chronic torture of T’ang Dynasty foot binding. Suffice it to say we’ve always taken the whole beauty thing way, way too far.
It’s been this way for what feels like ever, so you can’t cast too rosy a nostalgic glance at the past and forget that we’ve always been vain and borderline crazy when it comes to altering our appearances. But now the Internet is causing us to take it to new levels of insanity.
While people are still showing up at doctors’ offices with the very human dream of looking beautiful, but now they’re being more specific: They want to look beautiful online. Instead of wanting to look beautiful on the beach, at our weddings, or to feel more confident in interviews, now we want as many online admirers who are compelled to click “like” at the sight of our profile pictures.
People are starting to visit plastic surgeons with complaints of how they look in photos their friends tag, wanting a smoother chin-line or higher cheekbones so that the onslaught of random and tagged Facebook and Instagram photos won’t betray them.
Prospective patient complaints extend to video as well. When you’re back at home Skyping, you don’t want to be distracted by that small box featuring your face in the corner … but you just can’t help it.