How have photoshopped images affected the normal vision of how we should look, and why is there a high expectation for those influencers who are faceless to be perfect?
CW - Mentions of Mental Health and Depression
Social media following
Like many people on Instagram, I follow those who are seen as a size 6 or 8 in the UK, and not many of the influencers I follow are seen as the perfect body type.And like many people on Instagram, those influencers are normally seen as perfect, their skin has no blemishes, there is not a single sign of cellulite which no one can escape. How is this done? It’s simple really, any photo editing app can smooth, remove and lighten a photo.
These photos are then edited even more, making smoother photos and unrealistic backgrounds. Photoshop, by definition is `alter a photographic image digitally` Editing digitally has come in huge leaps and bounds, to the point where spotting a fake photo on the internet is harder than it should be. Some are obvious where car doors, door frames and mirrors are even warped as the editor has pushed in an area. Professional editors know how a shadow should be edited in, avoid the warping by keeping the background the same, smooth skin and suddenly make cellulite disappear from the images. These edits make the perfect body image.
Editing photos is more common than not
Case24 released a survey about editing photos. Around 3,000 UK residents took part in the survey, and only 29% said they would post a photo unedited. The remaining 61% would post a photo which has been edited. London had the biggest response wherein 81% of those who were from London responded that they would always touch up a photo first. Think of the word PERFECT, what do you think when you hear that? Many would think of no flaws, smooth skin, “natural” look with no makeup. The reality however is vastly different. Every person on this entire planet will have flaws, whether that be scars, blemishes, acne. No one is protected from this, many people will look for treatments to become the perfect human. Small waist, large bosom, long legs, smooth skin.
Perrie Edwards included a quote on one of her Instagram photos, which was about her embracing herself and the freckles she has.
"Embrace your individuality. Love what you love without worrying about Judgement"
Advice and upcoming influencers
To me, editing photos can be for either a job, such as editing wedding photos to make the day even more special. To edit photos because brands do not want flaws to be seen. However, edited photos create an unrealistic beauty standard, which affects everyone. Even if someone thinks that an edited fake perfect photo is not affecting them, it will. When exposed to a situation numerous times, your mind begins to think about it subconsciously.
Throughout a lifetime, everyone will compare themselves to each other, even if you do not notice it happening. The way you change ever so slightly is the difference between before the situation and after the situation. This creates a fake image in your head, with unrealistic beauty standards for both yourself and others. Pushing beauty standards upon others can also make them feel different and can ultimately act completely different as well. Pushing an unfair sense of attractiveness towards someone with body dysmorphia can affect them mentally even more, as they are not perceived as beautiful by someone they care about.
Many influencers who just post photos from the shoulder down, or YouTubers and Twitch streamers who are faceless can feel subjective towards the fake perfect photo. Being a faceless influencer comes with a big responsibility in terms of face revealing. Those who are nervous about their face being on the internet, usually put off and never show their fans what they look like. This comes from them not only being self-conscious about how they look, but also the high standard fanart of them, where fans are drawing what they think the person looks like.
All in all, any images posted on any social media platform whether noticeably edited or not, should not be taken as that is what the poster looks like. Angles, lighting, positioning and camera quality can all change how someone is perceived and how they look on camera.
Love yourself first and foremost
Hating ourselves can lead to depression, mental health problems and more, and no matter what others will say to make you feel better about yourself. Lizzo for example is an empowering woman, who is wanting to change the way everyone looks at body image. She posted a TikTok in 2020 showing her workout, she voiced this over with the following quote
"I've been working out consistently for the last five years. It may come as a surprise to some of y'all that I'm not working out to have your ideal body type. I'm working out to have my ideal body type"
Loving youself may take weeks or years, however in the end, it is worth it to see and feel comfortable in your own body, regardless of the beauty standard set. As you are gorgeous in your own skin.