We need to talk about our relationships with filters.
Filters may seem harmless to the average social media user but stop for a minute and think about the reason why we use them and how often we use them. It is becoming obvious that filters, in a lot of ways are just like photoshop. They are a tool used to enhance our appearance, the more we use them the more obsessed we become.
What's so bad about photoshop?
Photoshop has been a controversial topic for a while now. It has been a particularly hot topic in the past few weeks after Khloe Kardashian’s unedited bikini picture scandal. If you missed the drama, Khloe’s assistant posted a picture to Khloe’s Instagram account that hadn’t been edited to its usual standard.
The picture posed a stark contrast to the other pictures on her Instagram profile with many fans responding in horror; not to how she looked in the picture, but rather her reaction to the situation.
Fan’s were left disappointed that she removed the photo. They felt that in doing so she was continuing to support the toxic body standard set for young girls and women. A body standard that has stemmed from the use of photoshop.
Goodbye photoshop, hello body positivity!
What this situation has shown is that photoshop is fast being #cancelled. Influencers on Instagram are starting to take a stand against photoshopped images and the standard of perfection they set. Movements such as the #bodypositivity movement are making waves across social media, promoting the representation of all types of bodies, in their natural unedited state on social media.
There is however a trend, very similar to photoshop that seems to be getting off lightly in the war against unobtainable body standards. The use of filters.
Very few social media users don’t use filters. Filters are a sneaky little tool that are of the same toxic nature as photoshop, we just aren’t aware of it.
Some filters are so discreet that unless the person using the filter makes reference to it, it is easy to think that that is their natural appearance. Without realising it, filters have us questioning our natural beauty. They continue to contribute to the standard of beauty set for everyone. It begs the questions, are filters the new photoshop.
The take down of photoshop
Photoshop has started to be called out. People are trying to highlight the negative impact it has on our self-esteem and perception of what a body should look like. Influencers and celebrities are being called out for their over-edited and unrealistic pictures of their bodies. Instead, people want to see real, authentic bodies. They want to see cellulite, scars, rolls. Everything that makes up a normal body and stops making us feel like there is something wrong with the body we have.
Thankfully we are getting just that. Social media users are getting more confident in showing off their bodies just as they are. They no longer feel the need to seek out the help of photo shop express and face tune before posting. We couldn’t be more delighted. This change is ripping apart the body standard that has destroyed the self-esteem and confidence of so many young girls and women for years.
There are still many influencers who could take note but the representation of all bodies across social media is a welcome change that has been long over-due. We can only hope it will only continue to improve in time to come.
But what about filters?
While we are saying good-bye and good riddance to photoshop, there is still a tool used on social media that unconsciously effects our perception of normal in many of the same ways photoshop does. That tool is our good friend, filters.
Now I love a filter as much as the next person. They give you a little boost on days you are feeling a little run down and don’t feel like appearing bare faced on social media. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the more people are using filters, the more people subconsciously feel they have to.
Without realising it, we are setting a standard of what is deemed acceptable in terms of how we appear on social media.
What are the dangers of filters?
The dangerous thing about filters is they trick our minds in to believing people look a certain way when in actual fact they don’t. Sound familiar? Yes, you could consider filters photoshop’s younger sibling that gets let off a little easier.
So many times I have been scrolling through instagram stories and have been admiring someones skin complexion, comparing it to mine, only to realising three clips in to their story that they have been using a filter the whole time. It’s freaky stuff when you think about how blinding to reality it can be. Filters causes us to engage in negative self-talk without realising the truth of the matter.
Let’s not even get started on the euphoria we experience when we use them ourselves.
What can we do to combat the negative effects of filters?
Filters are fast becoming the new photoshop. People are unaware of the effects they are having on them in terms of the standard they set for themselves and everyone else.
We are all playing a part in the overuse of filters on Instagram. There is nothing wrong with the occasional filter but you have to remember photoshop started off with the occasional, small touch up and now people are completely altering images to give them a completely different body to the one they actually have.
In a world that is doing so well in taking a stand against unrealistic body standards and diet culture, it would be a shame to let our obsession with filters slow down all our hard work.
Photoshop, diet culture, and filters all feed off people’s obsession with appearance. Let’s not let one slide because we underestimate its effect.
The simplest way to put a stop to the negative effects of filters, is to show our natural faces a little bit more. Just like the #bodypositivity movement is doing in its efforts to combat false body standards. The more people show their natural selves, the more people won’t feel the need to use filters.
Of course there is nothing wrong with the occasional filter, but we do need to consider how fast it is becoming an obsession and how much their negative effects outweigh their positive.