The Selfie Effect

Who has not taken a selfie and uploaded it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?

Not one hand will go up if you ask this question in a room full of people. Selfies are so popular that there are now selfie sticks. And let’s not forget that ‘selfie’ was the Oxford Dictionaries’ International Word of the Year in 2013.

The Queen of Selfies must surely be Kim Kardashian. Kim likes selfies so much that she’s about to release a book with a selection of her favourite selfies. She submitted no less than 2 000 selfies for Selfish (yes, that’s the title of the book)!

Little sister Kylie Jenner is definitely following in Kim’s shoes, as she’s an avid selfie poster herself. Kylie’s selfies have gotten her a lot of unwanted attention, though, as just about everyone in the world is asking “has she, or has she not, had work done on her lips??”

The transformation Kylie has undergone in just a year is incredible and hard to miss. Apart from her lips that definitely appear much fuller, her make-up is a lot more grown-up and her facial expressions have gone from “innocent teenager” to “sultry seductress”.

Kylie has denied having fillers or any other work done to her lips, saying her pout is down to nothing but clever contouring.

Selfies are not as harmless as you think

Whether Kylie has had work done is not for us to say, but it does shine the spotlight on the growing pursuit of perfection among young women. You probably didn’t think our fixation with the perfect face and body could become bigger, but research by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) shows it has – and we have the selfie to thank for that.

“Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app Selfie.im, which are solely image based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before,” says Edward Farrior, MD, President of AAFPRS. “These images are often the first impressions young people put out there to prospective friends, romantic interests and employers and our patients want to put their best face forward.”

Of all the facial plastic surgeons surveyed by the AAFPRS, more than half saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables in those under age 30. It’s not just us girls who are getting into the act either, as guys are also lining up to make appointments for plastic surgery consultations.

While similar data is hard to find for South Africa, chances are good that American trends are reflected when it comes to appointments made for plastic surgery in Johannesburg and other big cities in the country.

To cut or not

You’re a girl, which means that you have fantasised about bigger or smaller boobs, a cuter nose or luscious lips. As long as you don’t want any of it to look like a Kardashian or because your boyfriend wants it, there is no reason why you shouldn’t look into cosmetic procedures.

Just be sure to research your doctor properly – you don’t want to walk out of hospital looking like Jocelyn Wildenstein, i.e. “Cat Woman”.