Technologically Tailoring Beauty

Annie Fields

Feline eyes, pouty lips, ski slope noses and caramel skin. The “Instagram face” with its distinctly cartoonish look, is a melting pot of plastic surgery and instagram filters that has turned women of the media into a homogenous brew, each model indistinguishable from the next.

While the invention of a manufactured face is no doubt wrecking the confidence of young girls without access to plastic surgery and picture altering apps like Facetune, I worry more about the stray from individual uniqueness that social media has created. Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid and Megan Fox as well as their slew of lookalike influencers are prime examples of the “Instagram face” phenomenon. 

While it is clear that these women have conventionally attractive features, you feel a certain disconnect from their beauty. The lack of palpability of their appearance can be attributed to its robotic qualities. The “Instagram face” as well as the BBL body standard are utterly inhuman and often anatomically impossible. In her article about the “Instagram face” phenomenon, Jia Tolentino describes the look as cyborgian. It’s no surprise that a technology invented beauty standard would have a very robotic flair.

However, appearance is just the beginning of the robbing of individuality social media has committed. Your hobbies, fashion and music taste are all subject to categorization and labeling by the media. Arbitrary aspects of our lives become defining features of our personhood in this social media driven society.

I believe so much of this issue is simply the result of a focus on self and overactive self-awareness. The more aware people are of themselves (i.e. their ‘aesthetic’, social standing,etc.) and their appearance (as a result of constantly being photographed or taking photographs) the more insecure they become. This leads those who are financially able, to get plastic surgery or use filters which in turn leads to the young people seeing them and feeling insecure. And the vicious cycle continues.

The irony is that despite our individualistic culture pushing “be yourself ”messaging, we have still managed to all merge to look incredibly similar and reject what is unique to us.

While eliminating social media may be the answer for some, the technological age is only beginning, and learning to cope may be the most effective way to deal with this unrealistic standard. With the sheer range of areas this issue spreads to it is nearly impossible to come up with a clear-cut solution.

Technology is advancing faster than humans are adapting to it, and we are beginning to merge more and more with our tech. Beauty standards are constantly changing and this current, CGI cartoon look is not something you must aspire for. Though it may seem redundant, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.