Body Dysmorphia, teenage girls and now aging perfection
There was a time when consultations with patients used to involve sharing a photograph of a movie star or famous starlet. But not now. What we share in consultations now are extremely photoshopped personal images. It appears that we are entering the age of aesthetic fantasy. It is frankly quite frightening, thinking about how a fifty or sixty-something wants to look like a completely filtered and unrealistic image of themselves.
One would think that this phenomenon was mostly in the young twenty somethings but it is occurring regularly in parents and grandparents too. We can no longer blame the fashion industry for affecting our younger generation and sparking insecurities and unrealistic expectations in young girls, when families are doing it daily. By families participating in this fantasy, it is normalising plasticised images of so-called perfection.
At first, like many things, this starts out as just a bit of fun, but how many friends do you know that have changed their profile image with a photoshopped version of themselves. Often this has gone beyond a little tweaking here and there. It is true for women of all ages that if this phenomenon continues we will have more long-term effects of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
We are all unique, and for that reason our uniqueness should shine through. We should encourage mothers and grandmothers to be cautious in front of their children and grandchildren and instill the virtues of moderation, particularly around susceptible individuals. If we are not careful, the mental health crisis of our younger generation will continue to escalate unimaginably.
It is already worrying to think that despite our intelligence, and despite our knowledge, we cannot influence and reduce the incidence of mental health problems in the younger generation.