Opinion

Social media’s standard of beauty is distorted through editing photos, filters

Maya Hall

Editor-in-Chief

Social media is a significant part of today’s society, and celebrities hold the greatest influence through social media. But some of the ways that they use their online presence can do more harm than good. 

Many celebrities post edited photos of themselves, and this is proven by the “real” or unedited photos of them being leaked and posted online that people can see the comparisons. For example, recently Khloe Kardashian posted a pool-side bikini picture, but then the unedited version was leaked, and she was working to get that photo removed. 

In a news article by published by Forbes called “From ‘Instagram Face’ To ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’: How Beauty Filters Are Changing The Way We See Ourselves,” Anna Haines writes about how the online filters used by social media users change people’s perspective of themselves and how it can cause insecurity and a separation from reality. 

“Edited imagery, and its influence on self-esteem and conceptions of beauty, is nothing new…”, Haines writes. “…But before social media, the source of our insecurity was failing to meet the beauty ideals modeled on magazine covers. Now, we compare ourselves, not only to an airbrushed elite, but to our airbrushed peers and our airbrushed selves.” 

There are many filters on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, and these filters can change the whole look of one’s face. Some filters can look silly and can be just for fun, but others can change the symmetry, size and can enhance or even erase certain features of one’s face, changing the level of “beauty” of the person. 

“For particularly insecure individuals, the gap between expectations and reality can lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)—a mental illness that affects one in 50 people in the United States”, Haines writes. “Classified along the obsessive compulsive spectrum, people with BDD are convinced some aspect of their body isn’t good enough…” 

When celebrities post unrealistic and edited photos of themselves, it creates an unrealistic standard of beauty. People, even more specifically young girls, who look up to the celebrity and the unrealistic standard they have created can begin to compare themselves to that celebrity. 

“…citing Dove’s latest findings that 52% of girls use filters every day and 80% have used an app to change their appearance before the age of 13…” Haines writes. “…77% of girls studied in Dove’s latest study reported trying to change or hide at least one part of their body before posting a photo of themselves and 50% believed they didn’t look good enough without photo editing.” 

When celebrities and models edit their bodies and faces in the photos they post, it can cause the already detrimental beauty standard to be raised higher. Since these celebrities are what society expects average people to look like, it can cause body image issues and eating disorders when people try to look the same or similar.  

So to avoid the trouble that editing photos can cause, celebrities and people with a significant amount of influence through social media should refrain from editing their photos so much and stick to their natural look. 

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