Impact of public exhibition on the perception of birthmarks.
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-20, 11:56 authored by Morgan B Zolkwer, Jodi Whitehouse, Saskia C Sanderson, Veronica A Kinsler
BACKGROUND: The importance of photographs in social media, the steep rise in popularity of tattoos, and the prominence of individuals with visibly different skin in fashion are likely to be changing the landscape of self- and public perception of birthmarks. Study objectives were to assess the impact of a photoshoot and public exhibition on the self-perception of individuals with extensive birthmarks, and to explore the viewing public's reactions. METHODS: Thirty individuals with congenital melanocytic nevi (CMN) were recruited internationally. Each had a professional photoshoot portrait with their skin exposed, resulting in a public exhibition in London entitled "How do you C Me Now?" Participants/parents completed pre- and post-questionnaires relating to self-perception and the impact of their birthmarks on behavior. Over 8000 members of the public viewed the exhibition, 464 completing an on-site questionnaire on its effects. RESULTS: All participants/parents rated the experience as positive, valuable and helpful. Scores on self-appreciation and self-confidence were significantly higher after the photo shoot. Members of the general public overwhelmingly reported the exhibition increased their positive feelings towards people with birthmarks. The majority of public respondents also reported that the exhibition made them feel better about their own skin and about their looks in general. CONCLUSION: This unique exhibition and the associated research has provided a striking new perspective on potential psychological interventions for individuals with birthmarks.