Ng: Beauty and social media

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

I HAVE become interested in monitoring how new technologies like the Internet, social media, and mobile mail/texting can change human behavior. I have seen many young people facing countless interruptions when people send them email, text, chat, or why they go to Twitter or Facebook. The other thing I have noticed quite obviously is how young people may not be reading the newspapers anymore, but getting their news feeds through social media.

The other week, I was delivering a talk to a few thousand college students and when I asked how many read the papers, only a handful raised their hands. Of course, the other side effect I have noted, which I wrote of a few weeks before, was how the constant reading of Facebook entries is fueling discontent and endless comparisons.

Obviously, people put their best foot forward when they update their Facebook status.


In most streams, you see people eating in restaurants, visiting faraway places or tourist spots, beaches, or taking selfies with stars or at celebrity concerts.

A recent newsfeed notes that because of this, people are also more conscious of how they look. They say this growing selfie trend is increasing the number of people who want to do exercise like zumba or yoga, or simply undergo facial surgery.

A survey done by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
said one in three plastic surgeons reported an increase in request for facial procedures by patients who want to look better online. They said that between 2012 and 2013, there was a 10 percent increase in nose jobs, seven percent in transplants and six percent in eyelid surgery.

The other interesting note on the survey was that 81% percent of all procedures were on women, but the men were also increasing. Another survey (which I posted on my Facebook account and garnered a lot of comments) gave the statistics that women on average spend 3,276 hours of their lives grooming and trying to look more beautiful.

That’s a lot of hours and enough to get a master’s degree. Men, in comparison, spend 1,092 hours. Whether this will increase in the coming years remains to be seen and will depend on how society and culture looks at it. But most predictions say that the number of hours for men should increase.

As a boy, I remember being embarrassed if my mother took me with her to the beauty salon because I always thought that it was not a place for boys or men. But now, most salons are unisex. Should men put more time and money into looking better? What do you think?

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2014.


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