For some time now I've been accepting more and more friend requests on social media, which has lead to some pretty interesting observations. Today, I want to talk about a repeat observation that has, frankly, bothered me for several months: a surprising number of women like to use photo apps to edit their photos, such as but not limited to: enlarging eyes, enhancing makeup, and mostly: smoothing skin. Before I go into my thoughts on this - let me first note that my intention is not to call anyone out, or shame anyone. I just want you to know...
You are beautiful the way you are.
As an advocate of body positivity, I want to take a moment to remind you that you are beautiful exactly the way you are. I know it can be fun to use these apps just to see what they can do, I get it, but you don't need to look like a character straight out of an anime.
When I brought this blog post up in my VIP Group, one of the ladies offered up her own experience with one of these apps. Here's her before & after and thoughts:
"Out of curiosity, I used an app to blur a scar I have on my abdomen, which promptly WRECKED my self esteem by setting an impossible beauty standard I physically can't live up to. I'm sharing it here to show others that it's no joke. These beauty standards apply pressure all our lives and before you know it, you're applying it to yourself and being crushed by your own false expectations. It's a vicious cycle! " - Brittney
Most apps are REALLY poor quality.
It's reeeeally obvious. Like - anyone who knows you in person knows your eyes aren't that big, and digital makeup just doesn't look like real makeup. As for skin smoothing? The apps completely erase your pores, which makes you look really blurry! :(
Think of the kids!
I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but I see these apps being used on children. This breaks my heart, friends! At some point, women learn that it's not okay to celebrate themselves. A Yahoo Health survey (among others, I'm sure) has found that girls as young as 9 start to feel self-conscious about their appearance. It starts YOUNG, so in order to inspire change in our culture, we have to start teaching children to be body positive sooner rather than later!
Now as a side note!
If you're looking to do some minimalist retouching on your selfies, there are some great apps out there for that! My favorite one being Snapseed (they have no idea I'm name-dropping them right now!), which allows you to make very specific adjustments without going overboard. The app was built by Nik Software (which was acquired by Google), a developer that created a very popular & professional plugin for Photoshop - so they know their stuff!
"But.. you're.. a photographer..you edit photos all day long.."
Just in case you're curious - I do not edit out anything on your body that is permanent, such as scars, moles, stretch marks, etc. I MAY soften them. I only remove certain features like that by special request, and this is something that I talk to each one of my clients about, because it really is personal preference - but I believe that these differences are what truly make us unique and I don't think they take away from a person's beauty at all!
All that being said... if you enjoy using the apps, by all means don't let me stop you! <3