You Gotta Zoom In

Ever since we entered this pandemic (COVID-19), a lot of us had to do virtual meetings, schooling, interviewing, and Podcasting (which I’ve done twice) on Zoom. People have got accustomed to virtual interactions but with constant use, it’s no surprise some people became self-conscious about how they looked on their screen. “Zoom Dysmorphia” is a term coined by psychologists to explain this kind of mindset. To be honest, I haven’t thought too much about how I looked during my interviews and podcasting. This is maybe because I was too focused on the moment and wanted a successful outcome to occur in those meetings. However, I would be lying if I didn’t think of it more than once, before hitting that connection to a Zoom meeting. Moreover, I’m basing this post on an article that has a lot of statistics and I don’t want to bore you with that, so I’ll link the article for you to have a more in-depth understanding of this topic. 

Even before COVID, plastic surgeons and dermatologists began seeing a rise in patients coming to them with demands that were unrealistic and unnatural, and with consistent use of Zoom and other video chatting services the pressure to look your best becomes overwhelming. Furthermore, individuals will feel highly critical of themselves, and even though people were self-conscious of their image pre-social media, social media became an everyday tool that exacerbated self-image hatred with its applications that enhances (Snapchat/Instagram) and magnifies imperfections. In regards to this, front-facing cameras distort images to the point where your image looks like it’s being reflected off a “funhouse mirror”. The camera is closer to you than a person would be in real life, and with everything up close, one would notice imperfections and chastise themselves to the point of body modification. 

In conclusion, I think a person who makes body modification due to an entity perceiving them as inadequate might feel confident at first with their new appearance, but there’s always someone or something that will remind them of their flaws, and with that, more unnatural physical changes will be done, and the cycle repeats itself. Worst-case scenario, if no body modifications are made, the anguish becomes overwhelming to the point of them perishing at their own hands. Zoom users are not only confronted with an app that they think acts like an “appearance evaluator” but external factors (people). The latter has a more emphatic impact on a person’s self-image and confidence. For example, the whole concept of “body positivity” has been trending for the last few years and there has been positive and negative language being spoken about it, the ones affected either made changes (naturally, weight loss) or unnaturally (liposuction). Having said that, Zoom in the case of this article has been the nail in the coffin so to speak for changes to be made. As of now, a viable option to combat Zoom Dysmorphia is through awareness so people who are experiencing it can find a space to discuss their dilemmas and brainstorm solutions. 

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