Behold the Instagram face, with its illogical proportions and hypnotising symmetry. High and rounded cheekbones; cushioned and protruding lips; a deep, dark tan that defies the averages of melanin, and most recently, upturned feline eyes, like those belonging to Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid.
The acquisition of said features is easy. Albeit temporarily, filters and editing apps can change your face in seconds. It's the sophistication not the premise that's new, take the Instagram filter ‘Cat eyes and lenses’ (by @sasha_soul_art) that manipulates faces so incalculably that no matter how dissimilar you look to Kendall Jenner when you start, you're her twin when it's done. See, her face is The Face, and those fawning over it aren’t just Gen Z.
In January, founder of SAS Aesthetics on Harley Street, Dr Mahsa Saleki, launched the ‘Fox Eye’ procedure, which is reportedly most popular with career women popping in to prop up their peepers. And on their lunch break because the £500 treatment that involves dissolvable stitches to hoik eyes up, takes a mere 30 minutes, and since lockdown restrictions were lifted, the clinic has reported a 15-fold increase in bookings. Idle, narcissistic gazing at oneself on Zoom, perhaps?
A yearning for almond eyes is nothing new. Instagram hawks have long contorted their eyes, simply by holding their hand to their temple in photos. The ends of brows are even shaved off - from arch to tail, so a fresh, straighter shape can be traced to add to the illusion. They're then matched with cat eye make-up.
But the trend has waded into the morass of cultural appropriation. Caucasian women co-opting the feature that Asians have been derided for, and called ‘sleepy’ because of. The pressure for Asian women to change the shape of their eyes goes back to the 1950s, when in a bid to assimilate, Korean women who came back with American soldiers after the war underwent blepharoplasty (surgery to create a double lid.) This fact, and other insidious slurs are why TikTok user @LeahMelle denounces the trend emphatically. Though some Asian women in a Reddit thread titled “Is the Fox Eye Trend problematic” have suggested that the trend reads more alien, doll or cat-like.
Whether it balloons to the proportions of lip fillers remains to be seen, though certainly - and scarily - faces that lie outside the laws of physics are going nowhere.