Let’s have a little chat about how we see ourselves. And not in a big picture, abstract, finding-your-place-in-the-world way, but in an actual close-your-eyes-and-picture-your-face way.
What do you see? And — here’s the million dollar question: Where does that visual come from?
In a world of Photoshop and Facetune and filters on demand, it’s really easy to fall into the habit of doing a little (or … more than a little) retouching when you’re sharing a selfie, and we’re quick to admit that filters can be really fun. Who doesn’t want to be a pretty kitty with sparkles in their eyes once in a while, especially when it takes zero effort? And if you’re sending a video to someone, well, sure, you want to look your best. One could argue that it’s not all that different than finding good lighting, the right angle, or swiping on a little mascara before hitting record. We take no issue with wanting to look nice.
But, here’s the thing: If every picture or video you share or send is filtered to the point of no longer really looking like you … well, what message are you sending to your friends and loved ones with that image?
And, perhaps more importantly, what message are you sending to yourself?
Because, in case you aren’t already aware, let us be the ones to tell you that you are beautiful, just as you are. You are unique, you are interesting, and you are so much more than eyes or lips (or, you know, a number on a scale). The things that make us different are the things that make us special, and when we get in the habit of filtering those all away … it means we’re all missing out.
We received an email a few months back about a rise in plastic surgery due to something called “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” which means that people are literally having surgery in order to more closely resemble the image they’ve created of themselves using filters.
That is terrifying. That filtered look? It’s not real. It’s not actually attainable. And it’s sure as hell not you.
It’s not that this is a brand new conversation — we’ve been talking about it with regard to Photoshop for years and years. But now that we can completely change our faces with just the tap of a screen, it’s become ubiquitous — and, as far as we’re concerned, a dangerous foe in the fight for self-love.
So, what do we do about it? Here’s a good first step:
Take yourself over to a mirror, look at yourself, and smile. Send that gorgeous face some love, appreciation, and acceptance. Don’t focus on things you might want to change — focus on the things that make you, you. Because you? You’re one-of-a-kind. You’re special. And you have a unique beauty that no filter could ever outshine.
Does this conversation raise any red flags, either for you or for a loved one? Will you look at your Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook filters differently? Or do you think we’re overreacting?
Whatever you think, you know we love to hear your thoughts, and when we said we wanted this to be a discussion, we meant it!So, whether you’re changing your ways or plan to filter even harder, let us know in the comments — and don’t be shy about sharing your why! —Kristen