Friday 25 September 2015

Why I’ll Never Use Filtered Pics on My Blog… Here for Illustration Purposes Only!

You may have read about Bigorexia or “reverse anorexia” in the media this week. It’s an anxiety disorder where men see themselves as small, when in fact they are big and muscular. It is thought to be affecting a staggering one in ten men who regularly attend a gym in the UK – and it’s on the increase!

The cause isn’t known but some experts believe it could be due to genetics, or a chemical imbalance in the brain. That may be but I can’t help thinking that the growing selfie culture has a part to play too in this lack of body confidence and distorted sense of what we look like, in particular the growing use of filtered photos and Photoshopped Images on Instagram.

Flicking through Instagram a few days back I was struck by how ‘beautiful’ everyone was - and ripped in the case of men! Pic after pic of perfect bodies and flawless faces, with not a single open pore, fine line or pimple in sight. I got lost in this World of beauty for one moment, in my subconscious. Before I knew it I was checking out my own face in a nearby mirror and feeling utterly rubbish about it.

Granted, most people in the Insta pics were younger than me, but I’d never had skin quite like theirs, ever. I then jolted back into reality and moved on, knowing that what I had seen in the main wasn’t real. These were highly filtered and altered pics.

As a grown adult I can rationalise this and not be affected by it. But what worries me is how this obsession with wanting to project a perfect image of ourselves is going to harm my kids’ generation – I have two, aged 14 and 10.

Photo-edited pics in glossy mags is one thing (I hate that too but at least we all know a supermodel look is unobtainable for most of us) but when our peers are doing it to look 'perfect' in selfies, then the pressure on everyone to match-up becomes intense. Personally, I'd rather everyone be 'real'.

After all the media coverage this week and my Instagram moment, I decided to have a chat with my daughter, armed with the two selfie pics you can see above - one taken with a filter and one without. I took them with my Samsung tablet and the bog standard ‘beauty filter’ feature it comes pre-installed with.

Mine is not sophisticated equipment and yet I was startled at just how different my skin looks in the two pics. I showed hubbie before my daughter and he was even more shocked than I - Ok, enough of that! 

So, I had that chat with my 10-year-old daughter. She nodded and shrugged her shoulders before wandering back to her computer to watch her fave Minecraft Vloggers. I’m not sure that the message struck home, and that is what worries me!

What are your thoughts on beauty filters? Do you use them?
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