The mental effects of using filters and selfies to tell self-lies

We live in a world where being physically beautiful is valued highly in society. We want to look like this, and quickly. So when the creators of these beauty comparison websites (social media) decided to add filters; many of us became obsessed with posting selfies of our perfect blemish-free skin, long lashes and plump lips. This was invented to encourage users to post on these platforms, so that they could feel as pretty and valued as the air-brushed people they had seen online previously.  

Our selfies on social media don’t truly affect the way we actually look – we’re literally lying to ourselves and our peers.

So let’s unpack the problems with the filter culture. Now, I want to make it clear I’m not judging people who use filters on their selfies, because I use them too, I just think it’s important to be aware of how this can affect our mental health.

What is wrong with the way we look? And why can’t we accept this online? We’re so set on masking our actual appearance, that we delete photos and don’t post photos online that don’t meet our standards. Our selfies on social media don’t truly affect the way we actually look – we’re literally lying to ourselves and our peers.

Worryingly it was reported in 2018 that people were turning to plastic surgery to look more like their filters. The Guardian cited that people were going into surgeons offices with “filters on Snapchat or Instagram and asking to look more like the retouched photo.” This was labelled “Snapchat dysmorphia”.  

I struggle to believe happiness can be achieved by constantly chasing these unrealistic ideals.

Now in 2019, this is concerning but not as surprising as we see Insta celebs promoting lip fillers and other products online. It’s a perpetual cycle which is damaging people’s self esteem and bank balances.

Once you have had plastic surgery and various other beauty treatments does this make you happy? Or are you constantly striving to maintain your image? I struggle to believe happiness can be achieved by constantly chasing these unrealistic ideals.  Plus they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so your new image won’t impress everyone, and trolls on social media can be very cruel.

When posting a selfie online, we want it to be appreciated and liked by as many people as possible. You can get caught up with checking the likes on a post to see well it has been received. If this number of likes doesn’t match your expectations it can affect your mental state. In many cases we also rely on the validation from complete strangers. This particularly affects teenagers who spend a lot of time on social media.

It is important to be able to distinguish between real life and social media life, the two completely different portrayals of the self. If you find the self-lying is becoming too much, it might help to take a break. Just know that beauty is skin deep.

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