Short answer – yes.
Long answer – these filters, and I am not talking about the fun, quirky ones, are not born out of thin air. Ridiculous beauty standards already exist for women and social media feeds into it and capitalizes on them. The world already tells you the ultimate face of beauty is slim, fair, contoured-cheeks; a slim-nose, small-eyes, small pink-lips, one that is free from acne; smooth and supple. These apps simply hand it to you on a platter of gold. These filters alter our facial appearance and mold them into what society calls, “the perfect face”. The contrast is so blinding, especially for a black woman, because you can literally see the filters struggle to fit your wide lips and nose, ultimately upholding European beauty standards. It is also worthy of note that these apps are owned and majorly controlled by white individuals.
It is impossible to glue a filter to your face so not only are you left feeling like a fraud, you are confronted with the truth that your face is nothing like society’s definition of beauty. Everybody likes a good thing or what we perceive to be a good thing, so we constantly go back to these filters and the cycle continues.
The world profits from women hating themselves, you cannot tell me otherwise. The slimming tea, BBL and cosmetic industry are all thriving from that. These filters are deliberately set up the way they are to make us fully dependent on them. Not needing these filters to look and feel good is bad business.
More users = more money.
Evan Spiegel cut soap for me.
The biggest mind twist for me was learning that the Kim K’s of this world still use Photoshop and Facetune to enhance their features: People who have the best surgeons and make-up artists at their beck and call, yet they still use filters to add an extra oomph to their look.
These are people we see regularly on our television screens and on our feeds on social media. They create unrealistic looks that are unobtainable and subconsciously it affects us.
Sometime last year, when we were all locked in and formed many connections behind our keyboards, I was talking with this boy on Instagram and at a point decided to move our conversation to WhatsApp. After I saved his number, he mentioned that my profile picture was beautiful. Instead of feeling good about such a harmless compliment, I found myself saying “I am actually not light skinned in real life”. I had taken the picture with a Snapchat filter and felt like a catfish receiving that compliment. I took down the picture hours later and since then have subconsciously reduced my filter usage to a bare minimum.
Some months ago, I tried the Tiwa Savage filter on Instagram – which is great for dark skinned women to be honest – and thought to myself “I see why people are addicted to these filters”. The way they change – fix – your face is remarkable. It gets so bad that using your actual camera feels like a sin – your ordinary face now always feels ugly. We might not be willing to admit it to ourselves but we subconsciously pick these things up and it plays a huge factor in how we see ourselves; not beautiful enough.