We, as a society, are thoroughly immersed in a world almost dictated by social media – presenting only the desirable aspects of our lives, enhancing what we love and flat out ignoring and hiding what we do not. It can, therefore, come as no surprise that the same is done for our physical appearance in photos.
This afternoon I took a selfie prior to a family meal and as I went to ‘automatically’ edit it I found myself questioning why? Why wasn’t it good enough as it was? Why was I trying to look different in a photograph, especially one seen by plenty of people who already know what I really look like? Why was this an essentially conditioned and automatic response?
Now… I’m not going to pretend to be a body positive hero all of a sudden (although let’s hope I am one day!) with all the answers. I won’t pretend that I’m suddenly comfortable with my unedited self or that I will never again post an edited photo. I won’t pretend – the photograph I uploaded had a filter than enhanced colour but compared to my usual editing this was very limited (oh gosh here comes the anxiety at admitting that!).
Post posting (haha) I decided to open a ‘beautifying’ app, in this instance Perfect365. A few button clicks later and I had smooth skin, different make-up and no eye-bags. 4 clicks later and I looked more ‘beautiful’. 4 clicks and I’m no longer me. 4 clicks and I feel suddenly more comfortable.
I am not saying these apps shouldn’t be used – frankly who am I to tell others what to do? BUT I do think that awareness of their usage needs to be more widely available and highlighted. The things we see online, especially in social media, are what people choose for us to see. So here we are, the conclusion so to speak: be aware. be cautious. and do NOT compare yourself to the bullshit fake standards posted online – it is easy to post a pretty picture.