It used to be something we only saw in magazines, but with apps like FaceTune, Slim & Skinny, Pixlr, and Adobe Photoshop now available on cell phones, the possibilities are endless. It's almost expected, nowadays. Before you post a photo, you're to add filters, whiten your teeth, shrink your waist, and attach a cute caption claiming how you "just woke up like this." It's just for fun, right? I mean, you're just tweaking minor details about your body & plastering it all over the internet. It's harmless!
Hmmm, try again.
It may seem innocent at first - a little smoothing of your skin or stretching your legs to appear taller. Maybe you receive more likes on that particular post with followers commenting, "goals!" So next time you decide to share a photo, you add another dimension like tanned skin or shinier hair. Sooner or later you realize that a) the before and after photos are extremely different, b) you look nothing like your actual self, and c) you're lying to all of your followers. Social media was meant for (I assume) raw authenticity, candid moments, and intimate communication, but has now transformed into a parade of pretty girls showing off their photoshop skills.
One of my absolute favorite Instagram accounts, @beauty.false, describes its mission in one swift statement, "Celebrities look like this. We know the truth". In short, @beauty.false takes a candid/natural photo of a celebrity or influencer and compares it to the photoshopped version that was posted on their account. Though fairly evident, their intention is not solely to expose the people in the photos, but rather to spread the message to social media users that "what you see isn't always what you get". Like the famous model Cindy Crawford once said, "I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford" in reference to a digitally altered image of herself on the cover of a magazine. These men and women DON'T LOOK LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE. Unfortunately, young media illiterate users cannot tell the difference - can you blame them? Seriously, these edits are really well done and extremely believable. Take a look...
Though people may argue saying, "Leave them alone. It makes them feel better about themselves!" Does it? Does it really make you feel better when you stare at that edited version of yourself and then look in the mirror at the real you? How you only find yourself appealing when you shrink yourself on an app?
It's honestly sad because these women pictured above are truly beautiful without photoshop. Yes, they have wrinkles and big noses and thicker thighs and flatter butts, but that's okay because who doesn't??? And personally, I would want my followers/friends/family/significant other to like me for me, not some plastic barbie doll who has my eyes. I know this is easy to say, but you have to love yourself first. It won't come quickly and it won't come easily, but you'll thank yourself for it in the years to come.