4
 min read

Will Social Media speak up for the mental health of its users?

With filters, editing and plastic surgery, Social Media is in quest of perfection… but at what cost?


We all know that nowadays, we use social networks to share the image we want to convey to others.    

Social pressure was installed among users with the ultimate goal of achieving perfection... Whether it is with celebrities who show a perfect life, an ideal career, and a perfect physique or influencers who share similar content, there is another side to the story behind all staged posts. They are called filters, plastic surgery, and photo editing.

Nevertheless, do social networks position themselves on the side of their users' mental health or do they support the obsession of perfection?


Instagram and Snapchat: creators of this filter culture 

These social media platforms set beauty standards, leading to body dysmorphic disorders (BDD) amongst young people. What is BDD? To put it simply, it is when someone starts obsessing about perceived flaws of their appearance or an “imaginary physical defect”. Some people get lost in the overuse of filters and no longer see themselves as they really are. "Snapchat Dysmorphia" has become an actual term to describe this disorder.

Pearly white teeth, a skin smooth as a doll’s, defined abs... Welcome to social media 2021.

What filters are we talking about? They distort your face to “improve it” according to society’s standards; they depicts “imperfect” features that you weren’t even aware of to "improve" your figure. The filter slims the nose, smooths the skin, enlarges the eyes and mouth, etc. In other words filters convey a plastic surgery effect.

@chiaraking

Why do I get evil barbie vibes #glowlook

♬ Originalton - Eyacheikho


Other consequences of filters' dictatorship: the % of young people who want to have surgery to fit in social media's body standards has increased in the last 2-3 years. Young people edit their images to become famous on social media, but they gradually lose the notion of reality.

Constant comparison

The problem is that 18-35-year-olds are constantly comparing themselves to influencers and social media filters, so much that more and more often, people show the edited version of themselves to plastic surgeons. Today the reflection of the mirror doesn't count as much as your phone's.

Social networks speak out on the subject...or not :

🤥 Instagram promised to remove filters that change users' faces in 2019.

🤫 Snapchat doesn't speak out on the subject and continues to produce filters.

😎 Tiktok: a beauty filter that blurs the skin, adds makeup and whitens teeth... Yet individuals don't use it too often since Tiktok creators long for authenticity. Nevertheless, the number of fitness or sexy videos that focus on appearances is increasing.

😇 Pinterest: the platform has taken the first step, and is committed! They banned all weight-loss ads for the whole summer. Today Pinterest is careful with the content posted on the platform whenever it concerns appearances. By changing their advertising policy, they are on the right track to promote body positivity.


Luckily, positive things are arising from all this craziness!

Internet users are starting to fight beauty standards by spreading body positivity.

As an example, the new Instagram trend of "insta vs. reality."


Instagram is working on its transparency: a sentence appears and specifies "created with a filter" when posting an edited picture.

Brands are also taking action by publishing photos of their models without editing!

Currently, users are the ones who can make things happen and they are speaking up! But reality also shows how the large majority remaining stuck in this spiral of "appearance."



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