Natalia Dyer, that controversial TikTok and when cosmetic 'advice' backfires

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Natalia Dyer is beautiful. But a nurse practitioner had some thoughts on how the "Stranger Things" actress could "enhance" her appearance.

In a viral TikTok video, Miranda Wilson (user @np.miranda) explained what she would hypothetically do to Dyer's face as her facial injector. The exhaustive list of suggestions included lip filler; Botox to "help slim the face;" a brow lift; and chin filler to "make her face more of a heart shape."

Wilson has since apologized in a new video – but not before thousands of fans called out the "weird" and unwarranted comments about someone's appearance.

"The fact that plastic surgeons think there’s nothing wrong with getting on the internet and pointing out all the things they’d change about the faces of (people) who have not expressed to them any interest in changing their faces is weird," user @_truds_ tweeted.

As a board-certified facial plastic surgeon himself, Dr. Steven Pearlman also questioned the intent of the viral video.

"If someone wants to alter their looks, their face or their image, then as a facial plastic surgeon, I’m all for it. But it is not up to us to determine and promote our skills by demeaning the looks of anyone – celebrity or not," he says.

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This impossible beauty standard is nothing new. But experts agree this unsolicited advice only highlights the growing pressures to conform to a homogenous and unrealistic ideal – not only for stars like Dyer but also for everyday girls and women.

"We can see how unattainable it is, as demonstrated by this analysis of someone who is in the entertainment industry, someone whose looks are typically elevated compared to average people. And even these individuals are not meeting these expectations of perfection that seem to exist," says Elizabeth Daniels, an associate professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

If high-profile stars like Dyer aren't immune to this "laser-like focus on perfection," what are the consequences for everyday people?

Natalia Dyer plays Nancy Wheeler (right) in Netflix's "Stranger Things."
Natalia Dyer plays Nancy Wheeler (right) in Netflix's "Stranger Things."

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The beauty standard should not be one-size-fits-all

The goal of cosmetic surgery should not be to make everyone look the same, according to Pearlman. Rather, it should be about embracing and enhancing the features that make us unique and beautiful.

But nowadays, there seems to be one blueprint for beauty: That in order to be considered attractive, you need plump lips, a slim jawline and a button nose. It's a look that not many naturally possess, and one that encourages young girls and women to seek out cosmetic procedures. 

"There's this narrow ideal that gets rid of individuality. But beauty is individuality, and this (TikTok) video is almost trying to make (Dyer) homogenous with this idea of perfection," Daniels says. "Our features are individual. They're unique. And that is beautiful. Why are we trying to wipe that away and create this standard to measure everybody against it?"

Natalia Dyer arrives on the red carpet at the 69th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Natalia Dyer arrives on the red carpet at the 69th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles.

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The consequences of not conforming can be deadly: Research has shown that an emphasis on youth and slimness can contribute to disordered eating, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and self-hatred. Experts fear that platforms like TikTok are amplifying this risk for young, impressionable girls. Aside from Wilson, numerous plastic surgeons, nurse practitioners and injectors have gone viral for sensationalizing Botox and fillers by making unnecessary comments about celebrities' appearances – which Pearlman says is a form of "entertainment, not education."

"Tagging and denigrating someone just because they are a celebrity is an easy way to get visibility. Unfortunately, the way physicians and nurse injectors get visibility these days is too often from sensationalism on social media," Pearlman says.

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Instead of convincing women that their appearance is something that needs constant improvement, Daniels says there needs to be less focus on dissatisfaction and more on appreciation.

"People are constantly commenting on each other's appearance and it's often intended to be positive. But regardless of intention, you are drawing somebody's attention away from wherever it may have been to their body," Daniels says. "So maybe we shift our focus to, 'How do I cultivate or foster these feelings of body appreciation?' That seems to be more important for psychological well-being."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Viral TikTok on 'Stranger Things' star centers toxic beauty standard