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© 2018 by ROYA EBTEHAJ

Artist Statement

There is a western mold of beauty that many people idealize, all over the world. This mold is shaped by capitalism and consumerism through digital platforms that are inherently objectifying. 


 The advertisement industry plays a crucial role in trapping us within the Instagram culture. Instagram’s popularity is fueled by the dominance that digital influencers have over consumer decisions,

in comparison to every other market today. With the help of influencers, advertisers try to trap us within a narrow field of content that is fed to us by algorithms. “Lifestyle advertising” is a form of advertising that targets consumers by manipulating their perceptions of a perfect lifestyle. Advertisers preying on people’s insecurities, hopes, and desires with respect to their self-image. We are bombarded with advertising content and exposed to it constantly when we engage with social media. Many people don’t realize it’s pernicious influence precisely because it has become so integrated into the ordinary online/consumer experience.

 

With this series of work titled “Plastic Makes Perfect”, I focus on examining the adverse effects of Instagram on contemporary Iranian culture. I investigate how as a result of striving for virtual popularity, the perception of beauty among Iranian people has changed. Extensive face and body transformations, through extreme plastic surgery procedures and the western cosmetic industry, has become normalized in Iran. However, often the result of striving to reach this ideal Barbie look is bizarre, abnormal and can create a  deformed appearance. When a country is undergoing a socio-cultural and economic crisis, it is easy to sell them westernized perfection. This phenomenon is what I call a cold invasion of my culture.