The New Beauty Is From Everywhere and Nowhere

Social media is shaping a new global beauty aesthetic, and we’ve never looked more alike

Joanna Fuertes


Photo: Sabrina Elliott/EyeEm/Getty

Carefully cradling my head in latex-gloved hands, the doctor asked me what my ethnic background was. After replying, the jigsaw that is apparently my face fell into place and became easier for him to fix. My chin needed a lot of work. Botox could open up my hooded eyes, and some filler in the tip would lift and make my sloping, aquiline nose appear smaller.

The 10-minute nose job, hot on the heels of now ubiquitous lip fillers, is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular noninvasive cosmetic procedures. It involves dermal filler being strategically injected to heighten, lengthen, slim, or smooth out bumps. With zero downtime and the option for reversal, the appeal is clear, and the results can be nothing short of remarkable.

Aside from sparking a new, all-engulfing complex with my nose, my self-esteem-sucking consultation revealed that even without any input from me, there already seemed to be a cultural blueprint in place for what my face should look like. A racially ambiguous ideal that aims to soften some ethnic traits while amplifying others.

This lurch away from Eurocentric beauty ideals hasn’t come suddenly. It’s occurring off the…