Techno Perfection: Teens Need to Be Perma-Hot

Oh, good title right? I know, I like it too.  Dum dah dah, what is techno-perfection? (sorry with the sassy typing, I am in a mood today).

Techno Perfection: n An individual’s personal desire to look good and be in flattering poses and styles at all times based on the new ability to edit, crop, color and change the way that individual looks online.

What are some of the aspects of techno perfection?

1) Constant Vanity

Teens and tweens are growing up in a culture where they might be snapped, filmed or captured at any moment.  With the rise of camera phones, built-in camera’s and camera’s that can take video, teens are always on.   Have you noticed your teen constantly looking in the mirror at him or herself.  A certain unknown somebody I know always changes the car mirrors to ‘fix their lipstick, ‘check their hair,’ or ‘just plain gaze at themselves.” Anyone have this with their kids?  Teens are very, very aware of how they look at all times.

2) Editable Beauty

I was asked at one of my client’s birthday parties to take a picture of her and her friends.

“wait a sec” one of them chirped, “Laura, switch with me, you have got to get my good side.”

“Don’t worry, we will take a bunch and edit them later.” Laura confidently reassured her.

Huh? Do I even have a good side? Would really think about it if I did? Teens have grown up being able to edit, crop, chop, lighten, darken and take away leg fat in any picture or video with basic computer programs.  This makes them think differently about their image.

3) Fame Happy

You can be famous.  I can be famous.  We can be famous.  Many members of this generation truly believe they are going to be famous and use it as an excuse to not work as hard in school or for future jobs.  The YouTube 15 minutes of fame has grown while the gap between celebrities and real people has shrunk with the rise of reality shows, Funny or Die spoofs and celebrity blogs.  This makes them strive to be perceived as perfect and think about personal branding, like previous generations thought about what color looked best on them.

4) There is Almost Perfection

Surgery is getting better and better.  Photography touch-ups are getting better and better and so is lighting, and other Hollywood tricks.  Celebrities set-up a very high level of techno perfection that most teens think is normal…and therefore also strive to have those ‘toned thighs’, un-messable make-up and perfect hair…all the time.

5) It Feels Close

High Definition make-up is here.  More and more companies are putting out tools and tips that make teens think they NEED to look like the celebrities.  I think it is actually taking teen girls longer and longer to get ready because there are just more things to cover, hide, nip and tuck.
-invisible tape for shirts
-false lashes
-HD make-up
-silicon falsies inserts
-bronzer for your legs
-hair inserts (you can Velcro volumizing fake hair to your hairline).

What to do? TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT THIS.  A lot of them do not even realize it is happening.  Whenever I talk to kids about techno perfection (at first they laugh), but then they usually think of all the ways that this has pervaded their own life.  In my mind, self-awareness is the first step towards becoming more authentic.

3 Responses to “Techno Perfection: Teens Need to Be Perma-Hot”

  1. Thomas Bailey
    February 27, 2009 at 3:39 am #

    When I was a tween and teen, I wasn’t really concerned about my appearance. Even today at age 41, I am still not very concerned. As for the “toned thighs” kids want, I got that from twenty years of biking, sometimes for great distances, the first 5-10 years using high gears, and leg pressing heavy (500 lb+) weights. One time, when I went to the gym, I leg pressed 800 lb, which was all that will fit on the machine. Someone called me “muscle man”, even though he looked more like a muscle man than I do. I have been called “tubbalard”, “stud”, and “studmuffin”.

  2. Kim Tennant
    March 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you for such a great article. With all the techno and medical advances, many kids feel they will never measure up. The desire to be rich, blond and willowy is pervasive. I am so glad you are addressing this issue. Could you also touch on eating disorders, the next step young people take to make themselves “perfect”? That’s why I have written children’s books about self-image to help young people. The media is a powerful influence.

  3. Vanessa Van Petten
    March 31, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    thank you for this! I think the media is a huge influence.

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