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The Illusion of Beauty

The Cons of Posting Edited Photos

Photo by Averie Woodard on Unsplash

Editing a photo before posting it on social media is something almost everyone does or has done at some point. Most of the time, adjusting a small thing or adding quality to the photo is harmless. Using a filter, fixing lighting or doctoring a few things on a social media post is okay, but it gets out of hand when people edit parts of themselves in a way that alters their features and makes them look unlike themselves. It is a better practice to refrain from heavily editing photos because looking better online isn’t worth the consequences of completely reshaping oneself with an editing app.

When celebrities, influencers or even peers heavily edit photos posted online publicly, altering themselves in ways that make them seem “perfect,” it sets unrealistic standards, as it poses something that is unachievable as real. In turn, it causes people to view themselves as an object that they can shape however they feel is necessary. Trying to fit into a standard that isn’t even real creates an incredibly toxic mindset, which is why editing photos, something that seems harmless at first, can manifest into something detrimental.

Additionally, many who edit their photos do it for a confidence boost, or to try and feel better about how they look in the photos they decide to share online. However, a study by BMC Psychology showed that editing photos on social media actually has the opposite effect. When someone edits themselves into someone they’re not, it skews their perception of their self-image, causing them to compare themselves to what society says is “beautiful” and develop the mindset of never being good enough. It becomes a vicious cycle that is simply not worth editing out insecurities just to look better online.

Most people, from young teenagers to adults, leisurely scroll through social media daily. Instagram models and influencers will appear, often with something about them edited and altered to make them look better. As they are presented as reality, it can be harmful to the mental health and confidence of those who view a photo and don’t realize that it has been perfected with the help of editing apps and even artificial intelligence. Again, it causes comparison and insecurity that is harmful to impressionable minds who won’t be able to depict what is real and what is fake.

Some could argue that editing photos is harmless and just a way to help with insecurities and present the best version of yourself on social media. Though this may seem true, editing photos heavily enough to change something you can’t fix that quickly in real life isn't a true version of yourself. Whitening teeth, fixing wrinkled clothes or changing up the lighting of a photo isn’t something that changes who you are, but editing body types or face shapes is something that takes away natural beauty and causes self-image issues in the long run.

It doesn’t have to be such a harmful thing, when done lightly and with care; editing photos to boost confidence and security in oneself is positive. However, people should refrain from heavily altering themselves in photos, because the few moments of satisfaction are not worth the long-term negative effects that editing photos can have.


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Andy Poll

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