The pandemic resulted in many of having to look at our own faces for hours in teleconferencing meetings, and the resulting dissatisfaction is sending us in droves to cosmetic surgeons.
Many cosmetic surgeons had expected the pandemic to hammer business. Instead the industry is enjoying a Zoom-boom. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reckons that the pandemic has led to a 10% increase in cosmetic surgery countrywide. In France, despite limits on elective procedures during the pandemic, cosmetic surgeries are up by nearly 20%, estimates the French Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. For Ashton Collins, the boss of Save Face, a firm in Cardiff that refers people seeking minimally invasive cosmetic treatments to the 852 (and counting) practitioners it has accredited across Britain, business is "through the roof".
Moreover, the desired modifications are not diverse, subtle or wild, but toward the blandly attractive monocultural sameface baked into the normiest selfie filters.
The face filters that have triggered this increased interest in cosmetic surgery all display a very singular type of European beauty: cat-like eyes, small noses, full lips, and a pointy face, a look popularised by supermodelKendall Jenner (who has had cosmetic surgery herself and regularly uses face filters). It's hard to find a mainstream influencer or celebrity who doesn't use at least some form of face-sculpting filter when posting selfies or speaking to camera. And of course, these are only the filters Instagram flags to us – there is a whole market of apps (like FaceTune) that filter faces and bodies in pictures and in videos which can then be uploaded undetected on social media.