The dangerous obsession with facial symmetry in the TikTok era

There are more than 100 million posts on TikTok with the hashtag #symmetricalface (#carasymmetrical), where users try filters to find out how symmetrical their face is through a mirror effect that compares both sides and which of the two sides would be, by contrast, his good side (Gotham/GC Images)

No human face is symmetrical. If an imaginary vertical line is drawn down the middle of a person’s face – i.e. from forehead to chin – the right side is never an exact replica (although upside down) to the left. There are always differences, even if they are very subtle.

In fact, it’s one of the reasons so many people love how they look in the mirror but hate being in photos. The reflection in the glass shows a reverse image; the photos, on the other hand, offer the “real” aspect. If the faces were symmetrical, the two representations would match. But that’s not what’s happening. That disgust for own photos This is usually because the person is not seeing the familiar face (the one they see in the mirror every day) but a slightly different face.

Sure, there are degrees: from barely perceptible asymmetries to very pronounced ones. Some scientific studies have postulated that, the more symmetrical a face is, the more beautiful and attractive it will be, and there are even works that have suggested that facial symmetry would be an indication of superior “genetic quality”. Such ideas have, however, been questioned on many occasions.

for the psychoanalyst Litvinoff, Fiorella in our time, that is to say the era of the image, we are usually captured by the visual and the image we present to the other is crucial”. “But this not only occurs in our time, but throughout history the image has become very relevant because it has to do with beauty and recognition of oneself and others. In Greek times, symmetry was synonymous with beauty and perfection, today continue but there are more designs on what is beautiful. the surrealism for example breaks with this idea that there is nothing beautiful except the symmetrical since the faces of Picasso for example, they are not symmetrical. There is nothing beautiful in itself, but what is conferred on the aesthetic is linked to the social constructions of the time and the subjectivity of who is looking”, Indian a Infobae The specialist.

Facial symmetry, the one that has obsessed men and women in constant pursuit of beauty since classical times, is just the latest fad on the platforms that best explore our fears, flaws, and desire to achieve an ideal. nonexistent (Getty Images)
Facial symmetry, the one that has obsessed men and women in constant pursuit of beauty since classical times, is just the latest fad on the platforms that best explore our fears, flaws, and desire to achieve an ideal. nonexistent (Getty Images)

To find the origin of our fixation on the symmetrical face you would have to go back to the year 1345 BC where we find the famous Bust of Nefertitithe great royal wife of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, conceived based on a rigorously symmetrical representation of his face. Later, in Greek times, the most important thing was the report search.

What neither the Egyptians nor the Greeks could probably have foreseen is that more than 3000 years later, millennials Yes centenarians would develop an obsession with proportions and symmetry bordering on mania.

People on TikTok are obsessed with facial symmetry, i.e. the laws of the algorithm, so am I.said a few days ago the writer haley nahman in an article for Guardian in which I explored the origins of this new binding which is transmitted at full speed from filter to filter and from profile to profile.

More than 100 million messages invade TikTok with the hashtags #symmetricalface (#carasymmetric), where users they test filters to discover the symmetry of their face thanks to a mirror effect which compares the two sides and which of the two it would be, however, his good side. In instagramthe most proportion-obsessed platform, search results show mixed results: queries for plastic surgeons showing before and after facial symmetry operations, facial massage sessions to correct asymmetries whose origin may be muscular, appreciation of symmetrical faces of celebrities or selfie of women wondering “why can’t I have a symmetrical face?”.

More than 100 million posts invade TikTok with the hashtag #symmetricalface (#carasymmetrical), where users test filters to find out how symmetrical their face is thanks to a mirror effect that compares both sides and which of the two sides would be, on the contrary, their good side
More than 100 million posts invade TikTok with the hashtag #symmetricalface (#carasymmetrical), where users test filters to find out how symmetrical their face is thanks to a mirror effect that compares both sides and which of the two sides would be, on the contrary, their good side

Before consulting this media, Elsa Wolfberg, psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Argentine Psychoanalytical Association (APA), and vice-president of the Chapter of Quaternary Prevention, Preventive Psychiatry and PHC of the Association of Argentine Psychiatrists, said:I guess this fixation on symmetrical faces is a mode and a mode of social control for people to entertain themselves with the mirror and do not think about the asymmetry of the societies where they live: inequality, discrimination and warfor example”.

instagram born this year 2010. Although filters were part of the platform since its origins, first these played with brightness, contrast or texture. face lookthe application that allows you to edit photos from your mobile phone, became popular in the year 2013. Soon the natural process of uploading a photo to instagramespecially when it was a selfieI made a series of previous enhancements through FaceTune, such as smooth the skin to hide imperfections in the form of pimples, wrinkles or redness, then publish it. That’s how, at least, the famous people everyone followed did.

In August 2016, Instagram launched its own version of the popular social network. Snapchat: instagram stories. And he was in instagram stories or filters began to proliferate, turning a normal face into an icon of beauty: freckles on the nose, eyeliner, long eyelashes, thick lips, a more pointed nose or a more pronounced jawline. When ICT Tac born this year 2016the use of filters had already become widespread and, moreover, A whole generation had already become accustomed to seeing and rediscovering its retouched image through mobile screens.

“Nobody can deny that TikTok invites you to have a certain fixation with the Self.. Filters can show you your real age, your ‘real’ eye color, what celebrity you look like, or what you would look like if you were a 90s kid,” he wrote. nahmansymmetry as a definition of beauty also plays in this. I thought so too, but seeing so many people collectively freaking out over their asymmetry, I realized that this fixation is absurd and erroneous”. For her, “Perfectly symmetrical faces seem unnerving. Perfection, aesthetically, is boring almost by definition. There may be studies that show humans are attracted to symmetrical faces, but there are also studies that show the opposite.”

“We never look at perfectly symmetrical faces, never from the moment we are born. When symmetry is advertised as something divine, we forget the appeal of the real and the organic” (Europa Press)

“If you create a perfectly symmetrical face in the lab, which I did, those faces they have very low beauty ratings. Explain Dahlia W Zaidel, professor of psychology at University of California Los Angelesa Stephanie Shapiro in an article on the beauty of asymmetry for Chicago Grandstand. “We never look at perfectly symmetrical faces, never from the moment we are born. When we advertise symmetry as something divine, We forgot the call of the real and the organic”, assured.

During this year In 2019, Instagram made the decision to ban all such “plastic surgery” filters in an attempt to prioritize, according to the company, the mental health of its users.. In recent years, adolescents have become more and more interested in everything related to their body, they feel more and more obliged to give a good image of themselves, similar to the one they manifest through their different social profiles. The reality is that after announcing the ban, Instagram it only removed filters that literally referenced plastic surgery, such as “Plastic” or “Fix Me” filters.

Currently, Instagram and TikTok show a large catalog of effects, through which users can play to see different versions of themselves. The facial symmetry, the one that has obsessed men and women in constant search of beauty since classical times, it’s so lonely the latest fashion on platforms that display fears, flaws and the desire to achieve a non-existent ideal.

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