The ugly side of Snapchat and Instagram filters
You don’t have to swipe very far to find a filter that will thin your nose, sharpen your cheekbones, widen your eyes, smoothen and, in some cases, even lighten your skin, helping to achieve that airbrushed look once reserved for magazine models and Hollywood stars.
“That, like, flawless kind of superficial look is what all these celebrities, like the Kardashians and Jenners, look like with their full faces the makeup,” social media influencer Kristina Pittam told Global News.
“It really becomes attractive to be able to utilize filters to look that way in an instant.”
But these digital tweaks that obscure your flaws are setting an unrealistic standard of beauty and that can take a toll on one’s self-esteem.
In some cases, augmented reality filters are also causing dependence.
Fourteen-year-old Natasha Farr admits she rarely takes a selfie without some kind of filter.
“For me, it’s not about the dog ears, or the hearts, I think it’s just about taking away all your pimples and making your eyes pop,” she said.
“To make it more, I guess, pretty.”
Farr believes she suffers from a mild version of selfie dysmorphia, a body-image disorder defined as a need to heavily edit one’s own digital image and an intense dissatisfaction with one’s own appearance after using digital filters.
The term was coined by U.K.-based cosmetic surgeon Dr. Tijion Esho after he noticed an alarming trend: patients seeking surgery to look like their filtered pictures.
“One of the strangest I had was a patient really wanted bigger eyes like the actual filter had given,” Esho explained. “It wasn’t possible to give her big eyes and I tried to explain many times why surgically and non-surgically this could not happen.”