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A Filtered Reality

Is it just me, or are face filters on social media moving farther away from reality?

While the dog filter was harmless a few years ago, today, we have filters that smooth our skin and fill our lips, not to mention the ones that change our entire face shape. While there is nothing wrong with using filters on social media if they make you feel confident, these standards are impossible to live up to in real life.

Now when we look in the mirror, many of us feel inadequate. Unfortunately, filters are just another way for the beauty industry to make us feel like we aren’t good enough.

Even though filters are fun to use, now, I’ve noticed it’s hard to go without them. With filters as the new normal, we start to forget what we look like without them. And for most of us, this is really difficult.

I’m not against face filters or retouching images altogether, but I do believe disclaimers should be included. In fact, Norway recently made it illegal for influencers to post an image on social media without a disclaimer if it has been retouched or a filter was used. They made this switch to address body-image issues for social media users.

The reality is, nobody looks like they do on social media anymore when we have access to facetune and photoshop, and it is becoming hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s not. A reminder that real skin has texture, dark circles, pores, uneven tone and blemishes, and all of these things make you unique and beautiful. Perfect skin doesn’t exist, and you are beautiful just the way you are, so be kind to yourself. Healthy skin > perfect skin. 

Here are a few things you can do to alleviate the pressures of social media.

Take a break from social media – while it’s hard to step away from social media sometimes (especially when it’s part of your job), try setting limits for yourself. If you are able, take a few days off and delete the apps from your home screen. If you need to use it for work, try setting time limits on your phone so that you can access it during set hours or a specific number of hours each day. This tactic may help you feel like you can get a break from the constant pressures of social media.

Assess how filters/retouching make you feel and adjust accordingly – if you find yourself more critical than usual, or at all, try and avoid using filters and follow others that post more honest content. A few of my favourites are Mary Jelkovsky (@maryscupofteaa), Megan Jayne Crabbe (@meganjaynecrabbe), Alex Light (@alexlight_ldn), Victoria Garrick (@victoriagarrick) and Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya). I would also like to suggest unfollowing people that make you feel like you aren’t good enough. A few years ago, I unfollowed many models and celebrities that posted heavily edited content, and it made me feel a lot better.

Use disclaimers on your posts and stories – this represents something simple and easy that could help you start something important in your community. Encourage your friends to do the same when posting on social media. In the long run, this will be helpful for you (as a constant reminder) and the people seeing your content.

At the end of the day, if this is something that is really affecting you, reach out to a friend or a professional that can help you.

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