Do filters make us pretty? (or simply ruin our self-image?)

Lenka Minarovicova discusses the potential dangers posed by the pressure to edit our photos for social media.

Lenka Minarovicova
17th November 2020
instagram @danaemercer
The boom of social media could be considered almost an event that the next generations will learn about in their History class, as it has irreversibly shaped mankind. As social media became more prevalent, we started sharing online the highlights of our lives. The need to show only the best, the funniest, the most interesting or beautiful of us has become a competition. Is this healthy?

With a wide variety of apps more accessible than ever, who could resist the temptation to edit our photos at least a little bit? The question remains, do we do it because we want to, because it fulfils our creative self-expression, or because it makes us feel worthy and better about ourselves?

While we can agree that some filters like Snapchat’s notorious dog filter are fun, we can’t overlook the damage to our mental health and confidence that editing our real selves may cause. We create this idealised version of ourselves- based upon what we see on the internet- and try to recreate it using various methods including filters. This, however, could lead to an unhealthy relationship with ourselves, as we become unsatisfied with how we look. Essentially, what it makes us do is to change for the sake of likes and trends. We may want to look slimmer or with a nicer nose and we may even get so used to our new image that we decide to take it further and undergo a cosmetic procedure. Indeed, it is absolutely fine as long as it’s a decision made on our own and not because of the pressure of society. What we should bear in mind is that trends change, but we don’t have to.

What we should bear in mind is that while trends change, we don’t have to.

Every little imperfection we don’t want to show is what makes us who we are. We must realise that the most important part of it all is that we learn to love ourselves, strive to do our best and then we’ll be generally happier and won’t think about our online version, since frankly, it doesn’t really matter.

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