Photo Manipulation & the Female Perspective

Reflection based on the readings:

Photo editing: Enhancing social media images to reflect appearance ideals. by the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing

Thinner, smoother, better: in the era of retouching, that’s what girls have to be by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

I found these articles both interesting and unsurprising. In 2018, it is nothing new to know about apps, such as facetune, that allow you to curate your face, body, and online persona to compete with the ridiculous and unachievable beauty standards of the social media world. If you want to play to social media game, if you want to try your hand at being a blogger/influencer/'insta famous', particularly as a female, you need to adhere to society's code of beauty and perfection. In other words, you need to be hot, and your photos need to constantly affirm you being 'hot'.   

The area which I hail from, Orange County,  California, is saturated with these influencers and insta models... all girls younger than me with tens of thousands of followers... followers that are hungry to be like them, or be with them. These girls are beautiful and hardly out of their teenage years, with still-developing bodies and not yet facing the realities of what slowing metabolisms and drinking too much beer can really do to a waistline, and yet they all are using tuning apps to slim down, de-wrinkle their faces and bodies... Which begs the questions, if we can't accept what we look like at our best, what will we face later down the line, when time and age set in?  


Women especially have always had unrealistic expectations for what they should look like, this is nothing new. But these expectations are being heightened and exacerbated by social media and the online world, where we can post an image of ourselves and within seconds be 'liked' and/or scrutinized by the public. So much of today and so much of social media platforms like instagram have dwindled these girls' and women's worth into likes and followers, into their online persona and not who they actually are.  Social Media is very unforgiving. If you let yourself be vulnerable online and build up a virtual community of fans and followers you are also inviting in the critics, the haters, the trolls, and everyone else who might want to take a dig at who you are and what you look like. It's vicious and mean and absolutely perverse. 


In my opinion, these articles are describing things, at least from my perspective, that are nothing new. I think anyone, at least any young-ish person who has any type of social media presence, knows this dark, parasitic underbelly exists. The question remains, how do we combat this issue? What can we do to promote positive body image online and offline, particularly for young females? 


Another great example that highlights this issue is the documentary 'Miss Representation'  

(which is on Netflix!)