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A refreshing take on photo editing apps and image glorification on social media accounts, leading to self depreciation and body shaming at various levels.
Recently as I was flying from Bangalore to Pune, I spent my time observing a lady through the gap between the seats seated in the row just after mine. Throughout the trip she was taking selfies of herself. None of the pictures she took seemed to satisfy her. She had tried an umpteen number of poses which involved tilting of her head at various angles to adjusting the width of her smile.
The entire scene was quite hilarious and entertaining. She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that there were people looking at her and giggling. Finally she did get a photo that seemed to appeal to her. Then, with some deft movements of her fingers, she quickly edited her photo in one of the photo editing apps, and voila, there was a fairer, and blemish free version of her which swiftly made its way to her social media account.
How many times has it happened that you see an extremely glamorous picture of your friend on Facebook or Instagram, and you are awestruck by their sheer transformation? Thoughts like she looks spectacular, how did she get so fair, her skin is glowing and she looks noticeably thinner, can’t even recognize her now, how did she manage it – rush through your mind.
Is it a makeover? No! Is it loads of makeup smothered on her face? Maybe! Is it that God decided to bestow that friend with some extra beauty on that particular day? Highly improbable! Then what is it? Well most likely it’s just a cleverly edited photo – there are so many photo editing apps available. When you meet the same friend next time, she would look just the same, without any traces of the diva you had visualized in your mind.
While we are all quick to protest vehemently against the highly photoshopped pictures of actresses on magazine covers, which contribute to unrealistic/unattainable body image expectations, we ourselves are in no way better. We all want to appear flawless and beautiful, if not in reality, then at least through our social media accounts. Our skewed perceptions of what beauty should look like makes us do such things.
These photo editing apps give us all that our vain heart desires. From fair flawless glowing skin, to a noticeably thinner body to sharper features – you can get it all.
Such is the fervour with which people edit their pics, that apps like Instagram have come up with hashtags like #Nofilter. This popular hashtag is used to convey that you haven’t used any of the inbuilt filters in Instagram to enhance your photo. The hilarious part is that the introduction of this hashtag has given rise to a whole new group of #nofilter fakers who are out to prove that they need no filters to look better!
I was a huge culprit myself. A severe bout of acne in my early twenty’s made me edit all the pics that I used to post during those times. I was embarrassed by the way I was breaking out like a teenager who has just attained her puberty. I would see flawless pics of all my friends enjoying themselves and go into self-pity mode. I would not even want to meet some of them as my confidence had plummeted to rock bottom. Everyone seemed to have a life except me.
Then one fine day, I decided to meet some of my friends, and realized they were not perfect either. It were their social media accounts that had created distorted versions of them in my mind. While some had blemishes on their face, some were fighting against obesity, some had uneven teeth, and some were battling family problems. They all had some flaw or the other. This made me realize that we are all imperfect. No one has a perfect life.
Never let people’s lives on their social media accounts affect you, because everyone’s life is like a staged drama, where the performances maybe spectacular but you never know what’s happening behind the scenes.
So next time your fingers itch to use one of the photo editing apps and edit that next selfie of yours, just pause and think – Is this façade of flawlessness actually you? While it’s easy to despise our flaws, accepting them can be liberating and can help you regain your confidence.
It’s our flaws that make us unique. Let your beauty shine through your flaws and then there is no stopping you!
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Published here earlier.
Image Source: flickr