Retouched for the net – Does social media intensify our urge for beauty?


An even complexion, large breasts, a slim waist and sensually full lips – these are optical characteristics that many girls and women desire. This is certainly not a new phenomenon, because Beauty ideals exist so or so similar for a long time. Today, however, we seem to be surrounded by them more than ever. Social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook are based to a large extent on self-portrayal, which should of course be as positive as possible – even if this requires some help.

The perfect picture

For many young people, and especially for many girls and young women, looking at and posting pictures themselves on social media platforms is now an important part of their lives. This, of course, is all about attractiveness. Like their celebrity role models, young girls are putting themselves in the spotlight for their own Internet presence. For the perfect picture not only make-up is used. The Images are postprocessedso that supposed blemishes disappear. The result is its own cosmos of seemingly flawless bodies and faces.

Of course, most young people know that what ends up on the Internet has been edited and no longer corresponds to reality. Nevertheless, the image embodies a seemingly desirable ideal with which young adults are confronted time and again. They would often also like to achieve such an ideal image in real life – and would even be prepared to help themselves to it with cosmetic surgery.

Surveys among plastic surgeons have shown that social media and the trend toward image editing are increasing demand in practices. Improving one’s appearance for online exposure is becoming an increasingly common motive for a desired procedure. And sometimes even the post-processed selfie is presented as the desired result.

Not really a new phenomenon

The beauty craze on the Internet is a trend that seems questionable, even dangerous, to some. Because the urge for perfection certainly triggers many a surgery wish, which may be called unnecessary and whose fulfillment, perhaps only shifts the focus on the next alleged flaw, instead of really promoting a healthy self-confidence.

The phenomenon is not really new, however, because people have always emulated ideals of beauty. And people have always accepted inconveniences and even risks for it. A look at history shows that unhealthy beauty mania is not new. A well-known example is the corset, popular for centuries, which was not only uncomfortable and caused shortness of breath and fainting, but also deformed the body and displaced organs. Another example comes from ancient China. There, a very small foot was once considered the ideal of beauty for women. For this, feet were constricted, bones were broken and lifelong disabilities were accepted.

Other contemporary cultures also make it clear that beauty trends are not tied to social media. In Mauritania, for example, girls are still “fattened” under extreme conditions to become as fat as possible – and thus, in the local view, attractive. There are numerous such examples.

The desire to adapt one’s own body to ideals of beauty is thus probably as old as humanity itself. With the spread of the Internet and the constant development of modern medicine, the possibilities are different today, but the principle is ultimately still the same.

Presentation beats perfection

Plastic interventions appear almost unspectacular compared to other methods. They are subject to, at least in this country, medical and ethical guidelines.

Serious Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeons, like Dr. Martha Bernard.do not carry out operations lightly, but discuss the motives of the interested parties and the sense of an operation in detail in advance. For this reason alone, there is no reason to fear a trend toward unnecessary cosmetic surgery on young people. However, if adolescents or adults suffer from their appearance, Dr. Bernard is available for an competent consultation is available to you. It does not always have to be invasive procedures – minimally invasive methods can also promise initial success.

And: Our view of the world and our conception of aesthetics and beauty have become more colorful and diverse thanks to the Internet and its possibilities. Many people resist the trend towards the (mostly unattainable) ideal on the Internet as well, consciously show themselves unadorned and often reap a lot of recognition precisely for this. “Body Positivity” is the buzzword under which people on Instagram openly show their wrinkles, pimples, love handles, scars and stretch marks.

Today, ideals are much less constricted and no longer subject to dictates. In many respects, beauty has become more a question of presentation than perfection and is thus unlikely to trigger a surgery mania any time soon.