Topic: Filters and Photoshop’s effect on self-esteem.
Outline: This will take form of an opinion-based research paper which introduces the topic ‘Snapchat dysmorphia‘. I plan to explain this topic and the relationship between filters and self-esteem by embedding my own experience as well as my friends’ experience of experiencing low self confidence due to filtered pictures on social media.
I used to be comfortable with my small eyes and flat nose. Until I started seeing all the beautiful girls on social media. They seemed so authentic, happy, and almost shining. Before coming to university, I got double-eyelid surgery to become one of those beautiful girls on social media.
My dreams did come true. Not only do I have bigger eyes than the past, but I can also use filters and photoshop in the most intricate ways possible so that I would look different from the ‘real me’, while not letting it show, so that I can pretend like I was ‘born this way’. And guess what? It works like wonder on social media. I get more likes and comments on social media when I put more ‘effort’ into the process of selecting and photoshopping photos. Now I’m one of the girls that younger girls would see on social media and want to look like. I feel bad, but I can’t help it.
I chose this topic because I have experienced low self-esteem due to filters and photoshop. However, while doing research on this topic, I was surprised to find out that there was a term for this phenomenon, called Snapchat Dysmorphia. Snapchat Dysmorphia is a type of BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder), which is associated with ‘face and body dissatisfaction due to a perceived flaw in appearance’.
I was even more surprised to find out that this was a worldwide phenomenon, because I used to think that Asian girls were generally more obsessed with taking selfies and editing them before putting them on social media. Then I realized how Snapchat’s filters, an application used worldwide by 188 million active daily users, make people’s eyes ridiculously big and their skin appear impeccably soft and clean.
Not only does photoshop and filters make people want to change their faces to look ‘better’, or like the versions of themselves on snapchat, the applications also make them want to change their whole body, including body shape and skin color. All photoshop apps such as MakeupPlus and Facetune have the ‘reshape’ tool, which lets people ‘reshape’ their face and body shapes to make them look slimmer. As a result, it is very easy for people to choose to use photoshop to look thin, instead of trying to lose weight in real life. Because the process of changing their faces on photoshop apps are very simple and easy, people are driven to think that it must be easy in real life to change their appearances. As a result, there have been cases in which people asked for cosmetic surgery to make their eyes as big as the ‘animal eyes’ that Snapchat filters give them.