It seems as though our daily lives are revolved around the many different filters that we decide to present to people we encounter off-line and online. Photo filters are just one of the ways in which we have a cultural phenomena, in particular, goes beyond social media. In the text Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, Chapter 2 (Rettberg, CH.2) one of the main ideas that Rettberg presents is; “Choosing what technology can do”. I feel very strongly about this main topic she has presented to readers and I find myself sitting here with my brain exploding with strong opinions that will alter the way you think after you read.
There are a staggering amount of ways we use filters that can manipulate the way your face and body looks to others that gives you the instant gratification you’re seeking to feel, in your eyes, “beautiful”. There are so many concrete problems with digitally manipulated images. (Arata) Whether you are a male or female, seeing an individual display such utter “perfection” can result in your brain feeling overwhelming doom that everyone but you just normally looks that way. It is even more difficult to make your brain realize that these photos are indeed edited and that comparing yourself to them creates a whole slew of problems that one should never have to endure. Not only is your self-esteem impacted but, also your ability to personally perceive that you’re perfect just the way you are and no filter should ever hold so much power against you, that you slip into the mindset that you’re less than everyone around you.
As many of you know, Snapchat is a very popular app that is used by a variety of people, at various different ages. I personally use Snapchat more than I would like to admit, embarrassingly enough and most of the time I find myself flipping through all the filters wondering what causes me to all of a sudden feel ‘pretty’. I ask myself “Why do these floating pink hearts above my head miraculously change my image into something I find more pleasing to look at”. As I dug into a deeper part of my mind I began to realize that I struggle with these bad habits of wanting to look a certain way, act a certain way, and feel a certain way. To some, this is not a problem, but to many, its all they ever think about. The struggle to wholeheartedly accept that you’re beautiful or handsome just the way you are, has begun to get harder and harder these days but remind yourself to take that filter off and embrace everything that you are.
Many of us can probably relate to the feeling of being misinterpreted by a camera someone is using to take our photographs. We ultimately end up settling with just taking a selfie as we fear the photographer will see us in a way that we don’t want them to. I know for a fact that countless people would rather self protect by taking pictures of themselves then have a photographer potentially seeing you in a way that is unbearable to even think about. (McFadden 2014) Personally, I couldn’t relate more to what McFadden stated. I am lucky enough to have my mom as my photographer which alleviates the pressure that comes with a total stranger taking the photos. I hope that one day we as a society can annihilate the horrible stigma that circulates the media and we can smash all the negativity that is being put on to ourselves relating to filters and diminishing self confidence due to all the ‘perfection’ we see that makes us self destruct.
I genuinely hope that after reading this lengthy, but very thought provoking text I put together, can help you come to terms with yourself on these very powerful issues we all face, and master the ability to confidently and proudly tell yourself in the mirror or at your front facing camera on your smartphone, “I’m beautiful just the way I am” or “I am so handsome just the way I am”, without the need to apply colored filters, body shaping filters, Snapchat filters, or every filter combined to be able to say these crucial self empowering statements.