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The quest for the perfect selfie - An Indian perspective

In this day and age, social media has come to define our online experience. So it is perhaps not surprising that in countries such as India the desire for better selfies is what drives a substantial number of people to cosmetic surgery.

In this day and age, social media has come to define our online experience. Whether it's finding the perfect Instagram filter to showcase the exact feel of a holiday experience, or choosing the perfect Facebook cover photo to illustrate our beliefs, people put a lot of thought into how they present themselves to the world. Profile pictures are especially important since they are generally the first image people will associate with any given social media account.

So it is perhaps not surprising that in countries such as India the desire for better selfies is what drives a substantial number of people to cosmetic surgery. From skin peeling inquiries to requests for puffier lips, people of all ages are trying to boost their odds at a perfect pic via subtle enhancements. But, as Dr. Dhir, a Delhi-based cosmetic surgeon, always says, the issue with selfies lies in the fact that they are often taken with a flat lens instead of a high focal length lens, which can dull a person's features and make them seem less appealing.

However, an innocent desire to look better is not the main problem with selfie-culture. The worst part is that, once they've enjoyed a little bit of success, people will feel pressured into topping themselves next time around. This can lead to tremendously risky behavior, such as climbing to high places with no protection or standing too close to water. In such instances, accidents and even death have sadly become commonplace, with 127 people dying in 2016 alone as a result of their selfie obsession. What's worse, Indians account for the vast majority of these deaths, signaling a nationwide disregard for the most basic of safety precautions.

In these circumstances, taking the safer route is always preferable. There are plenty of applications out there that claim to considerably improve one's features through subtle or not-so-subtle editing, including the popular BeautyPlus Me - Perfect Camera app that's currently en vogue. And the possibility of doing some light modifications to your face is also on the table. 

In fact, many cosmetic procedures nowadays are less invasive than getting a tattoo or undergoing permanent hair removal therapy. Studies show that people are gradually becoming more comfortable with the idea of body modifications, as evidenced by the growing number of annual procedures. This changing tide is currently more pronounced in Western countries like America and the UK, but it always trickles down to the rest of the world sooner or later.

Still, opting for a cosmetic procedure is not a decision that should ever be taken lightly. Purely selfish concerns need to be balanced out by rational thought in order to prevent an over-reliance on regular interventions. And an ample amount of research should always be conducted beforehand. Luckily, popular Internet forums like Real Self and Cosmetic Journey are chock full of useful information, including advice from other people in similar situations and reviews of plastic surgery specialists and medical centers like the Cosmos Clinic.

In conclusion, since the current nationwide desire for better selfies will not likely abate anytime soon, it's important to ask ourselves just how far we're willing to go for the perfect picture, and if our inner happiness and peace isn't more important than some momentary dopamine rush. After all, beauty is fleeting, but freedom knows no age.

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Stories by Andy Cowell