Reality, sadly, is not always attractive. Contrary to what television and media may suggest, life is not always on a good day, from the right angle, or with good lighting. We do not always look our best, and the worst part is that we imprint this illusion of perfection onto ourselves and our expectations. Selecting and altering the best photographs. Feeling like we are not doing well if we are not looking good. The endless, vicious comparison of ourselves against those we see on social media and in film.
Just as we select the best photos of ourselves, producers select the most conventionally attractive actors and models. As a result, exciting things happen to beautiful people. Goodness is equal to beauty. With all this in mind, it is no wonder that we feel ill at ease in our own reality and we want to make ourselves beautiful.
Are diamonds a girl’s best friend, or is it a filter? Cheaper than makeup and widely available on our phones, filters have dramatically affected how we present ourselves and perceive each other in the virtual sphere. The most common traits include enlarged eyes and lips, a more pronounced bone structure, physical slimming of the face, and clearer skin.
My sixteen-year-old sister showed me the Instagram of one of the girls in her year who regularly photoshops herself: waist and legs, specifically. In one of the images, not only had she photoshopped herself to look smaller, but also edited her friend’s legs… making them look bigger. In this instance, my anger immediately went to the photoshopper – of all the spiteful, nasty, things to do. Then I realised what level of pressure this girl must surely be experiencing to look a certain way, and what the root of that pressure was. It is all of us, it is everyone, and it is everywhere.
When we see beautiful people on our screens, we expect that that is the way we should look. Celebrities are infamous for their use of cosmetic surgery to achieve the impossible to fight their ageing and natural body. Cue the rise in cosmetic surgery as people desperately try to fit this unattainable perfection. Women dominate these procedures, as ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) estimates that 5,344,764 women had Botox worldwide in 2018 compared with 752,752 men. The rich also dominate the plastic surgery world, as a facelift costs almost £11,000, whereas Botox is cheaper at £350 for three areas but requires regular top-ups. The Plastic Surgery Group website also advertise the Kylie package, where clients can get 5ml fillers for £1500 to get their desired look.
Whilst I do not criticise the act of cosmetic surgery itself, I do criticise a society that makes us feel as though we need it. When faced with these filters that morph your face into something it is not, or gloss over your ‘flaws’, it is no wonder that we feel insecure and seek rectification.
So, is it possible to have a healthy relationship with a filter? I think the more pertinent question is this: is it possible to have a healthy relationship with yourself?
Although I would like to demand greater transparency from our influencers and celebrities, more realistic portrayals of students in films, and a greater representation for other types of beauty in the media, this is not easily within my control. The only thing that we can control is our own perception of ourselves. Coming to the realisation that there is beauty in our difference and beauty in our flaws is not an easy process. We need to be the ambassadors for change: unfollow the accounts that make you feel unworthy and stop using those damaging filters. You are better without them.
– Millie Jackson
Featured Image Source: Pexels