Editing: How far is too far?

By Katherine Mallett

The quest for THE ‘perfect picture’ seems to be infinite. A plethora of editing apps that offer countless filter options, lighting settings and blurring tools. It therefore comes as no surprise that we live in a society that breeds and even feeds self-image issues. The big question is: how far is too far?

A deep dive into the app-store

It doesn’t take much. A quick trip to the app store and you are swiftly submerged in a foreign world of photo-editing apps that offer tools that you didn’t even know existed, let alone need. Despite the excessive competition, there are the true OG’s who many people couldn’t live without.

A cult favourite for any avid instagrammer is VSCO. An app that fancies itself as a ‘community for creators, by creators’ and is nothing short of a shop for the very best in photo filters. VSCO is a must for anyone who indulges themselves in an Instagram theme or simply wants to enhance their selfie.

For those who enjoy a more intense and advanced editing app, Facetune is often the preferred favourite. Facetune boasts a different approach, and for just £3.99 users are able to transform their photos. From teeth whitening tools to reshaping your entire facial structure (wtf?!), Facetune provides users with the tools to touch up their photos with worrying ease. Both of the aforementioned apps provide, promote and pressure users into revising and modifying their image, in order to compete with the insane beauty standards that exist in our modern society.

Celebrity Faux Pas

It seems obvious that those with the most influence are the ones producing and cultivating unattainable beauty standards. With the increasing popularity of social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, it is easier than ever before for celebrities to impact their fans and followers.

Instagram (and all around) beauty queen, Kim Kardashian has received numerous accusations regarding the editing and enhancing of her pics. From completely altering her natural eye colour, to acquiring a sixth toe (which she somehow still manages to rock), she is never far from debate surrounding the editing of her instas. But it is not only the famous females that are naïve participants in such photoshop faux pas.

Jake Paul, the controversial YouTube and social media star, has also been challenged about the editing of his pics. Prior to an upcoming boxing match with a fellow Youtuber, Paul posted pictures on the gram looking muscly and in top fighting form. It was quickly observed that the photo had been digitally altered, with Paul’s muscles appearing a lot more toned, tanned, fit and ready than he could take credit for.

The role of magazines

However, it is not only celebrities and ‘influencers’ that we have to blame for the unrealistic beauty standards that are continually circulated. It feels like since the beginning of time fashion and beauty magazines have characterised and defined a singular and dominant beauty ideal.

Magazines are known for enhancing and manipulating images so that they conform to the common perception of ‘beauty’. Riverdale actress, Lili Reinhart, challenged the magazine, Cosmopolitan Philippines, after they edited her waist. She claimed the alteration left her feeling ‘disrespected and disturbed’. Like many women, she fights hard to love the skin that she is in. Reinhart is an absolute #girlboss in her own right. She helps pave the way to a society that doesn’t edit its way to an unrealistic version of perfection that honestly doesn’t exist.

The content that is being absorbed by young people can be harmful beyond measure.

It is therefore concerning that 16-24 year-olds are spending a minimum of three hours a day scrolling through social media feeds. We are being exposed to heavily manipulated faces and striving for figures that are not physically obtainable. Social media is rapidly becoming a dangerous and toxic system, targeting young and often vulnerable users. Instagram is often deemed the worst platform for negatively influencing our wellbeing. The constant interaction with edited and unrealistic content is severely damaging to our mental health.

We live in a society that is repeatedly prioritising appearance. It can feel impossible to escape the pressure to conform to the mainstream beauty ideals. A little sprinkle of Aden or Valencia (insta filters for any rookies) can be harmless and appreciated at times. But facial and body manipulation, especially by those with a substantial following, can be considered one selfie too far.

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