Photoshop, Instagram, Snapseed, Photo FX, More Beaute… You name it, I’ve used it. The photo editing programs that are available to us are endless, many of them completely free and accessible from the comfort of our own sofa. How many of you have sat there on a Sunday afternoon filtering your photos from the night before, whilst waiting for your roast dinner to be cooked and nursing a hangover? I’m not going to lie, my hands are well and truly up. I did it at the weekend. I probably even did it last night. So what is our obsession with these “photo-enhancing” apps, and why do we now feel that we can’t upload a photo to a social media platform without putting it through one of them first? It may look harmless… but is it? And is it actually making us feel better about ourselves, or worse?
Now this is going to make me sound like a truly terrible human being… but I nearly cried with joy when I saw this picture of Megan Fox. (“YES! Mother Nature’s got it in for her too!) And then I took a long hard look at myself and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. But really, can you blame me? We’re so used to seeing airbrushed pictures of “practically perfect in every way” celebrities that we gasp with astonishment when we see them in the flesh for what they really are. Human beings! They still get muffin tops, spots and wrinkles like the rest of us, but the media seem to take away their rights to be displayed as normal, imperfect people and depict them as Godlike, carved-by-the-angels, mythical creations instead. But the worst bit is that we know these celebrities don’t actually look that perfect in real life. We know that they’ve been airbrushed within an inch of their life and there’s no way in hell that their skin can really glow 50 shades of gold, but yet we still buy into it all, opening a magazine to be greeted with a two page spread of the most beautiful specimen you’ve ever seen and thinking “I wish I looked like that”. SHE’S. NOT. REAL! But then, you already knew that didn’t you?
So yes, I think the media plays a massive part in how we view ourselves because we are constantly surrounded by what society says we SHOULD look like. Which essentially… is fake. Yes the person in the picture is an actual human, but with all the imperfections removed, which makes them individual. But who wants to be individual when you can be perfect? I don’t think I even need to carry out a survey to obtain the answer to that. All of the celebrities in their “before” picture are already beautiful, but apparently not beautiful enough, and that is why we are so obsessed with photo editing programs. We are never satisfied and are constantly striving to better ourselves. It’s actually pretty depressing when you think about it. Does anyone really care that you’ve managed to make your skin look smoother or your eyes brighter? Would anyone actually notice? No probably not. But you would. I think the real reason that we use these programs is to impress ourselves just as much to impress everybody else.
We’ve all seen the above video. The one which shows the full (and extreme) transformation of an already beautiful woman on the left to what is considered a “perfect” woman on the right using Photoshop. The intentions of the video are good, with the producers wanting to bring to light the unfair pressures of women (and men) to look a particular way – which is often unattainable. I will admit that this video is extreme and we don’t sit there with our smartphones and tablets trying to elongate our necks or improve our busts, but it’s very relevant isn’t it? I bet the majority of us wished that we DID have longer legs and smaller waists. Why can’t we just accept and learn to love what our Mama gave us?
I have been a complete hypocrite writing this post, and I have no qualms admitting it. I’ve just flicked through my Facebook profile pictures and can’t see one photo for at least the past 2 years in which I haven’t filtered. I am completely guilty of falling victim to the “photo-editing curse”. And if I’m being completely and 100% honest… I’m probably going to carry on doing it. Because I’m shallow? Maybe. Because I’m vain? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just because I’m now used to it. Everyone else is doing it, and it’s the given thing. Or MAYBE we should all try living by the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.