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Essay

Learning to love myselfie

By Rebecca Quin

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Recently I was walking around my local shopping centre minding my own business when a flyer was eagerly thrust in my face. From what I could tell the flyer was an advertisement for Botox at a beauty clinic. With the flyer, you could get ¥1,000 off your first treatment (and a smooth and wrinkle-free forehead to boot).

I'd never considered the way my forehead looked before, but when I got home I found myself studying it in nanoscopic detail in the mirror, wiggling my eyebrows up and down — I swear I could see lines starting to form. "Maybe I should get Botox," I thought.

There's no doubt that in today's selfie-obsessed society, plastic surgery is big business. The number of cosmetic procedures has been on the rise over the last decade, with the industry currently worth a reported $2.2 trillion (¥239 trillion) worldwide. This figure is predicted to reach over $2.9 trillion (¥316 trillion) by 2017.

In the U.K., around 65,000 people undergo cosmetic surgery every year. The treatments range from serious surgical operations like a rhinoplasty (commonly called a "nose job") to non-surgical treatments such as Botox injections.

Plastic surgery is much more affordable and accessible than in the past. While procedures used to be the preserve of rich celebrities, they have become widely available in high-street beauty salons. Today it's cheap and easy to get a quick fix. As a result, an increasing number of ordinary people are jumping on the cosmetic surgery bandwagon. This is especially true for young people. In fact, millennials are currently the fastest- growing segment of the cosmetic surgery market.

Moreover, cosmetic surgery is no longer a taboo. The idea of "having work done" isn't embarrassing anymore. It's fairly common to get Botox during your lunch break or before a big event. In fact, going under the knife (or needle) is seen as a badge of honour. I've seen quite a few people upload post-op selfies to their social media accounts. Actually, according to a recent U.S. survey, 2 out of every 5 surgeons reported patients decided to undergo cosmetic surgery to look better in selfies.

People feel pressure to change the way they look because of the photoshopped images published in the media. Daily we are bombarded with the message that we aren't good enough, that we should lose weight, that we should change this or that. You can't even walk around the shops without risking condemnation!

Cosmetic surgery may be low-cost and convenient but the truth is that self-worth comes from the inside. So I've decided to accept my forehead as it is. The flyer is in the bin.

自分自身のセルフィーを好きになる

先日、筆者が近所のショッピングセンターをうろうろしていると、しわを軽減するボトックス注射の広告チラシを手渡された。セルフィー(自撮り写真)ばやりの今、美容整形はビッグビジネスなのだ。

The Japan Times ST: June 3, 2016

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート

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