Flicking through a magazine today it is often easy to tell whether an image has been edited or not. Photoshopping and picture editing has long been subject for debate in terms of false advertising and setting unrealistic beauty standards. However, this has been taken to the next level by Instagram, which has made photo editing easy and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. This has opened up new questions about whether we should edit our images or not.
A recent study found that up to 68% of people edit photos of themselves before posting them, yet this is almost equal to the number of people who agree it’s wrong for magazines to edit images. This just shows how normalised editing has become. This is a problem because whilst we have become accustomed to dismissing adverts and magazine features as romanticised versions of reality, when we see images on Instagram, we link them to real life. Instagram is also a platform where we see pictures of friends and events we have attended. In essence: we become the celebrity. The issue with this is that we create an image of our lives and ourselves that isn’t reflective of the truth.
It’s fine if you can look at a picture of your friend posing like an insta influencer in front of the birthday banner, when you know that four hours after that photo was taken she was confessing her undying love to the plate of chips and gravy half spilt down her front. However, influencers themselves, who edit their photos, are sometimes unaware of their reach and they don’t realise that, by showing unattainable perfection, they are damaging the self-esteem of their followers who they have never met in person. The irony is that in some cases, they themselves choose to use filters not out of vanity but out of their own insecurity.
View this post on Instagram
Is Instagram a big reason for depression & mental health problems in young people? The stats say it all but what do YOU think? 🧠 When I was growing up, I only had the ‘perfect’ girls in magazines to look at & even that was an unhealthy comparison. I hate to think what young teenagers are now comparing themselves to; distorted, filtered, photoshopped versions of reality. There has always been a pressure to look good, but what’s scary is that Instagram is accessible all day everyday without any sort of time cap on it or restriction on what you can see apart from the choice of who you’re following. It upsets me so much to think how much this can effect young people’s mental health. Even the most educated still don’t know how easy it is to use photoshop or editing apps. I share so many of these posts but I just want to help as many people as I can find that true friendship with their bodies. – I’ve always been conscious of the back of my legs & refused to wear shorts for most of my teenage years. I thought I was the only one who had a ‘second bum’ 💁🏼♀️ I see girls beeeehinds on here looking smooooth as a peach which I’m sure they’ve worked hard for but I find it super unrealistic for me personally. The more I’ve shared on here about body confidence (or lack of) the more I realise I’m not alone & the more normal it becomes to look like the right in shorts. – I was speaking to someone about this earlier last week & they said their 12 year old cousin was posting photos on Instagram of her in a bikini & the caption was ‘rate me out of 10’ then another post of her in her underwear, if I get more than 50 likes I’ll send you a DM *winky face*. Instagram can be an amazing place but it can also be very dangerous. – Do you think there should be something on a post, a disclaimer to say the image has been edited/photoshopped? What are your thoughts on protecting young teenagers & preventing them from mental health problems connected with social media? ❤️🧡💛
I recently added @effyourbeautystandards to my followed list; they are a breath of fresh air amongst last year’s Love Island contestants and upcoming models. Their realistic images of beauty have made it scarily clear how used to overly staged and edited images we have become. I admire the honesty of an unfiltered Instagram post, as it removes the stress of feeling the need to look perfect all the time.
It’s not hard to see why editing is so popular though. Posting a photo of you not looking your best makes you vulnerable to other people’s judgement. In our society, where we are so conscious of how other people perceive us, it’s natural to want to look as much like the pictures in magazines as possible. We are all guilty of making small tweaks to a photo. But hitching up the brightness or turning up the temperature don’t alter you beyond recognition. These are just like putting on foundation or wearing make-up – they are a conscious choice. What’s more, these touches can be used for a more artistic than egoistic purpose. They are an easy to use and free tool that allow people to create more professional looking images. This is great for creating a virtual photo album of your life that you look happily back on.
The most important factor to consider before editing a photo is why you are doing it. The saddest thing about editing is the final product, because it shows that the person feels they aren’t beautiful enough. We need to realise that often we are at our most beautiful when we look natural and happy.
Last modified: 9th May 2018