As soon as Netflix released Season 4 of stranger things, the series quickly became the hottest thing in the entertainment industry. Viewership skyrocketed, making the show Netflix’s biggest English-language series ever. There were a lot of reasons for stranger things‘ success, including a poignant horror vibe, a terrifying villain and a peak into the mythology of the Upside Down. Now, a month after Volume 2 released, the internet is still ablaze with all kinds of outlandish fan theories, including one that involves Mrs. Karen Wheeler.
However, fan theories aren’t the only stranger things-related content going wild on the internet right now. Recently, Natalia Dyer (who plays Nancy Wheeler) became the recipient of some unwanted beauty advice from a nurse practitioner on TikTok. Completely unsolicited, Miranda Wilson suggested multiple plastic surgery options that would help improve Dyer’s looks. There are so many problems with the hypothetical consultation, but here’s a good starting point: Natalia Dyer’s looks for her were never a problem.
The viral TikTok suggested a slimming procedure for Dyer’s masseter muscles (attached to the jaw), chin filler (to make her chin more pointed) and lip filler (for a stronger pout). It even suggested Botox to lift Dyer’s brows. The whole “consultation” was designed with the intent to make Dyer’s head have more of a “heart shape” with more defined features. Immediately, stranger things fans rallied to Dyer’s defense, calling out the TikTock as rude, offensive and unnecessary. Because of the backlash, Wilson has taken down her “consultation” and issued an apology video with a caption saying,
“#greenscreen hoping to clear the air that I was not suggesting that Natalia NEEDED any of that work it was just an example. Of course Natalia is absolutely stunning the way she is…that’s why she’s so successful. Her photo was simply an example. I’m sorry if people took that as being mean or rude, that was not my intent at all”
While Wilson’s apology may or may not have been accepted by stranger things fans, it only proves her folly. It’s clear that she was trying to take advantage of stranger things‘popularity in order to promote on her own profession. While some would consider that good marketing, it’s ultimately a problem because it came at the detriment of another individual. As of now, Natalia Dyer didn’t respond to the TikTok, as she keeps a limited presence on social media, but the problem remains.
In fact, the problem goes deeper than Natalia Dyer. Wilson’s “consultation” is really just a symbol of the unrealistic beauty standards that define social media. So many people (especially young people) spend countless hours trying to get the perfect angle, filter and background for their statuses and profile pictures. It’s as if their Instagram/TikTok/Snapchat profiles are worth more than their actual lives. So, when someone — who specializes in plastic surgery — suggests that a super successful movie star doesn’t even look good enough for social media, it goes beyond a business advertisement. It influences how children see themselves.
The bottom line is that individuality should be celebrated, regardless of the agenda that social media tries to push. Trying to make everyone fit into some kind of supposed mold is an utter disservice to society’s well-being and individuals’ self-images. People need to be built up, not torn down — and all too often, social media is used to promote an unrealistic and unnecessary standard. Luckily, stranger things fans realized that for Natalia Dyer. Hopefully, the rest of social media will take note.
Stranger Things Seasons 1-4 are streaming now on Netflix.