Digital dysmorphia is on the rise - women share how they are navigating this phenomenon

Woman taking a selfie
Woman taking a selfie
Getty Images

Whether we like it or not, social media influences how we understand the world, what’s trending, what we value, and how we feel about our self-worth. Digital dysmorphia, also referred to as selfie distortion, is on the rise and even though it isn’t a medically recognised illness, it’s a reality that affects all screen users – and that’s all of us.

“The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.” When Bell Hooks, the American professor, author, feminist and acclaimed culture critic, penned this line in her 2002 book Communion: The Female Search for Love, it was already reflecting many of the challenges that define a woman’s journey towards self-love and acceptance. As noted by many feminist authors, the mainstream media has a negative effect on how women view their bodies, beauty and aesthetic.

Today, social media is part of that mainstream and while it’s easy for us to think digital dysmorphia is an issue amongst ama2000, that is not the case. And certainly not in doctors’ rooms. In 2018, the UK-based cosmetic doctor, Tijion Esho, coined the term ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ to explain a phenomenon that he had been noticing. Whereas before, patients would traditionally come to his rooms with a celebrity’s features as reference, now they were coming for a consultation using their own app-enhanced and filtered images. And those that were using celebrity pictures? The celebrities clearly had work done and it didn’t mean the inspiration would suit the patient.

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