We already spoke about some of the different aspects in the recent Irish Influencer Scandal, but the most worrisome problem for us is the issue of Irish Influencers photoshopping their images. It has been frustrating to watch how some bloggers have been pushing unrealistic aspirations without any regard to the consequences and the effect it is having on people’s mental health.
We kinda talked about some of the issues with social media and bloggers before, but we really wanted to double-down on the serious issue of photoshopping. Because making a location look different is a whole different ball game to dramatically altering your appearance. Colette Sexton from The Sunday Business Post recently called it a public health crisis and we completely agree.
The True Danger of Social Media is Influencers Photoshopping
We were told not to talk to strangers on the Internet. Not to use our real names or give personal details. But one of the biggest dangers of social media today is the false images that we are bombarded with. When you see all these images of perfection it’s so easy to turn on yourself and ask “Why don’t I look like that?“. The reason is no one looks like that – unless you download the Facetune App.
We all love a good filter, or maybe make that blemish a little less notable. But photoshopping yourself to look 2 stone slimmer next level. And that’s the very real problem. Some very prominent Irish Influencers are completely editing their appearance and it’s so dangerous.
Joanne Larby a.k.a The Makeup Fairy was one of the Influencers who was mentioned time and time again in reference to photoshopping. Joanne often portrays herself as being very into the gym and says that she “works hard” to look the way she does on Instagram. But some of the photos unearthed over the past few weeks offers some very stark differences between Joanne on Instagram and Joanne in real life. Before the Influencer Scandal erupted Joanne was promoting a Beauty, Fitness & Wellness workshop. All details of the workshop have since been deleted. But The Makeup Fairy is by no-means the only one.
Rosie Connolly was forced to apologise for photoshopping an image on herself that she took as part of a campaign with Rimmel. Yes, it’s obviously terrible for her and her confidence that she suffers from acne. And it’s probably something we would all be tempted to do. But how is it acceptable to be selling a product to someone promising them fabulous skin when you know it’s not the truth? Imagine the confidence knock to anyone who bought that thinking they’d have nice skin like Rosie’s.
We all want to be that little bit more toned, but photoshopping yourself to make yourself appear thinner is unacceptable. There are people looking at these pictures and being awful to themselves because their waist isn’t that small. That they don’t have a thigh gap. Or that their skin doesn’t look that flawless. And then to be trying to sell tickets to a “confidence workshop” just shows the lack of awareness to their actions.
Influencers Blur The Line Between
You definitely see altered images in the media all the time, but advertisements now have to declare any image altering below. Have a look at the next Mascara ad that you see. We bet you’ll see a disclaimer at the bottom saying that image has been digitally altered. The big problem with Influencers photoshopping is that they allow you into their lives so you almost don’t expect them to deceive you in such a way. Then when they get questioned on it they’re being bullied and everyone is a hater.
No one forces any of these influencers to post pictures of themselves. Why would you bother posting so many selfies of yourself online if you have so many insecurities? If they’re not happy with themselves why spend your time taking photos of yourself? It seems so depressing. Even more depressing is the thought of sitting there altering your picture into a way you know you’ll never look like. It’s just downright dangerous for them to be posting these images online knowing that people will be complimenting something that isn’t real. Everyone loves a compliment, but to be getting likes and compliments on a way you’ll never look is so messed up. And in turn it sets unrealistic expectations for their followers.
Joanne Larby put forward the argument that celebrities Photoshop themselves, but how is that a justification? Do we wish celebrities would stop Facetuning themselves on social media? Yes. Do we also wish magazines would stop butchering perfectly beautiful women? Of course. But celebrities are somewhat removed from our realm. Influencers are not. They can not be selling the ‘we’re your friend” vibe and then pulling this.
It’s so easy to forget when you’re looking at pictures that they are probably not a true representation. Especially with all the scrolling that we do.
Being made feel inferior by a little grid is something a lot of teens are struggling with. Anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia cases are on the rise in Ireland. It’s estimated that 400 new cases of eating disorders emerge each year, representing 80 deaths annually.
Being hard on yourself is horrible, but being hard on yourself for a way that you could never look is so upsetting and debilitating. It’s hard to escape these false images when they are so rampant on social media. Not everyone is perfect the whole time. But you have influencers pushing foundation promising perfect skin, promoting weight-loss tea and flaunting a “perfect” figure when they’re Facetuning themselves into oblivion in the photos.
We’ve Had Enough
Influencers just need to stop photoshopping. End of story. We don’t want excuses or justifications.
It’s false advertising and it’s illegal to be promoting products that don’t give the results that you say they do. They are also contributing to the current body image crisis that is continuing to grow each year in Ireland.
It’s not good enough for Influencers to essentially play dumb when they are called out on serious issues like this. Just like any job you have responsibility to inform yourself and know what you can and can’t do.
Influencers need to stop with the self-importance and realise that their actions have consequences. Photoshopping themselves is having a detrimental effect on vulnerable and impersonal young people in this country. According to Bodywhys up to 200,000 people in Ireland may be affected by eating disorders in some way.
If Influencers are photoshopping themselves they’re obviously not happy in themselves either. It’s beyond ridiculous that they can’t then take the time to understand how they’re actions are effecting others. Most of these Influencers are grown women and the market that they are “influencing” are teenage girls who already have enough pressure and doubts to deal with.
What Needs To Change
Let’s be clear, this issue does not only affect Irish Influencers, but it feels like in such a small and increasingly overcrowded industry here some have taken it too far.
Let’s be honest, we’d probably be the first to complain when influencers share everything about their lives. There is definitely a struggle to produce content, but also to be relatable and real. But it is their job and responsibility to present their content and therefore themselves in a balanced way just like media and magazines must. There’s no point saying you weren’t told of your obligations. Influencers need to start being held to the same account as traditional media and disclaiming if they are altering their images. But we honestly don’t see why “good” content has to go with photoshopping like some Influencers are claiming. You can have amazing pictures without turning yourself in to a Barbie.
We would just like to see a bit more honesty and consideration from Influencers. Whether they like it or not they are role-models and figures of inspiration to thousands of followers and they need to start being accountable and recognise the responsibilities that go along with their job that they signed up to willingly. Relatability, honesty and ‘real-ness’ are all incredibly valuable attributes.
What You Can Do
Question what you’re seeing. Love yourself. Be thankful. Speak out. Unfollow. Get help if you need it. Talk with your friends. Don’t believe everything you see and read. Be aware of the dangers of social media. What does matter is that you never, ever, let an app make you feel like less of a person or as though you are inferior. You are enough.
Let us know your thoughts on the issue of Influencers Photoshopping.
Image: Beth Sandland