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With Snapchat filters and unrealistic sizing standards, some social media users are feeling body-shamed, contributing to higher rates of surgical procedures due to body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an illness that isn’t limited by gender. Anyone can experience symptoms of body dysmorphia, though the disorder only affects around 2% of the population with an estimated 40% of BDD sufferers identifying as men. The disorder also affects more than how people think about their weight.
Now, the disorder is curling its fingers around Snapchat users. The new trend, dubbed “Snapchat dysmorphia” by some users, has resulted in people getting real plastic surgery to look like their fake, filtered images.
Some Snapchat filters feature dog ears or fake glasses, but many others give the user a realistic airbrushed quality that downplays some of their features. As a result, it’s made people want to get bigger lips and eyes, and smaller noses. Nearly 55% of plastic and cosmetic surgeons noted that patients want the surgery to look better in selfies.
Some surgeons claim that social media as a whole could be contributing to body dysmorphic disorder. It can also lead to higher rates of depression and lowered self-esteem. An estimated 80% of people experiencing symptoms of depression do not get professional help.
Sometimes, however, social media can be used for good.
Plus-size fashion blogger, Lottie L’Amour, called out H&M’s wildly incorrect clothing sizes in a recent Twitter post. She posted images of her partner wearing plus size shorts that fit a little snug but looked good overall.
The clincher? These shorts were labeled as UK size 28. L’Amour’s partner is usually a size 16.
The post blew up on Twitter, with one individual detailing a recent trip to HandM claiming the experience made her cry. While women already spend an average of 100 hours a year shopping for clothing, the process can take much longer for plus size women and men. It can also be a lot more emotionally trying when they are unable to fit into their usual size.
“Not only is it potentially dangerous for sizing to be so far out for young people who suffer with body dysmorphia or eating disorders because of how climbing up several sizes will affect their self-esteem, but it’s also really damaging for plus-size customers who are automatically sized out of a range that is meant to be for them,” L’Amour said in an interview with TODAY.
Luckily, there’s still hope. More and more clothing retailers across the globe are offering more size-inclusive fashion choices. Most recently, J. Crew and their brand, Madewell, have announced a fashion line that covers sizes XXS to 3X. For their brand, Universal Standard for J. Crew, sizes go up to 5X.
Additionally, it’s estimated by Coresight Research member, Deborah Weinswig, that underrepresented sizes are an untapped profitable market. She claims that the market for extra small sizes and plus sizes is worth an estimated $46 billion.
Even though these stores haven’t yet made headway in the environmental sector — Americans still create around 100 billion plastic bags a year — this news is a welcome surprise for plus size individuals across the country.
Even though J. Crew won’t stock all of its sizes in-store, they offer options to try certain sizes and styles before placing an order with a sales associate in the store. For those who are sick of unrealistic sizes, this may be a game-changer.