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Social Media Envy Is More Than Just Your Imagination

Our Naples psychiatrist's view on unrealistic social media standards, feeling inadequate, and the price of happiness.

Photo of a heart icon on a smartphone

The hidden price of a single "like"

Mariateresa Fichele

Some of my female patients are struggling with the way life is exposed on social media. It is becoming extremely problematic not only in relation to the beauty standards exhibited online, but also the family models that are exposed.

Some women — who struggle with their role as working women and mothers or housewives — have difficulty in understanding that behind a bright young entrepreneur who constantly shows herself on social media as a loving mother and wife, immersed in an opulent and perfect reality, there is a hidden world of waiters, nannies, makeup artists, hairdressers, drivers, airplane pilots and photographers, who certainly do not appear in videos and Instagram stories.

My job, in dealing with these patients, is to relieve them of the sense of frustration and inadequacy that arises from the comparison, trying to bring them back to the level of reality. And yet it may be reality itself that is the biggest obstacle in any of my therapeutic efforts.

For it is looking ever more true what one of my patients, Gennaro, once told me: "Dottoré, this story that money doesn’t buy happiness is bullshit. It was invented by the rich to comfort and trick those who have nothing…”

Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.

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Iran's War On Abortion Rights, A Toxic Mix Of Theocracy And Demographic Panic

Ending a pregnancy has become a major complication, and a crime, for Iranian women who cannot or will not have children in a country wracked by socio-economic woes and a leadership.

photo of a young child surrounded by women in chadors

Iran's government wants to boost the birth rate at all costs

Office of Supreme Leader/ZUMA
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Keen to boost the population, Iran's Islamic regime has reversed its half-hearted family planning policies of earlier years and is curbing birth control with measures that include banning abortion.

Its (2021) Law to Support the Family and Rejuvenate the Population (Qanun-e hemayat az khanevadeh va javani-e jam'iyat) threatens to fine the women who want to abort, and fine, imprison, and dismiss the performing physician, if the pregnancy is not deemed to be life-threatening. The law also bans contraceptives.

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The measures are in line with the dictates of Iran's Supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. He was already denouncing birth control policies by 2018-19, though conservative elements among Iran's rulers have always dismissed birth control as a piece of Western corruption.

Today, measures to boost families include land and credit incentives for young couples, but it is difficult to say how far they will counter a marked reluctance among Iranians to marry and procreate. Kayhan-London had an online conversation with individuals affected by the new rules in Iran.

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