Chatty Tuesday: Is Instagram beauty fake beauty?

I want to introduce to you today’s topic. It’s quite a controversial one, which is why I wanted to incorporate as many opinions as I could muster! I reached out on my Twitter and Instagram to see what different people thought of the topic. I wanted to focus around the Instagram account that has been blowing up quite a lot recently and that is “beauty.false“.

This account currently has 285k followers (at time of posting) and when it began circulating via a few viral tweets, I had a few mixed feelings when I finally took a look at what it was all about. It’s an account that takes a posted Instagram photo from various public figures, alongside the real life snapshots of the same/similar photo that are unfiltered and portray the more “raw” image.

Upon first glance of this page, I thought it was a bit harsh, but wasn’t too sure why. It felt a bit strange that these women were being called out for not looking like their pictures in real life. But that’s a given surely? After scrolling right down to the start of the page, I recognised more faces of women I follow and was surprised to see how heavily edited and unrealistic their images really are. It’s not unbeknown that Instagram is a magnet for images that have been nipped, tucked and Facetuned within an inch of their lives. However, when you can physically swipe between the real and the raw, it really dawns on you that what you’re seeing, most often isn’t what you get.

As a disclaimer, I am by no means shaming anyone for editing their photos – you do you! I could be really hypocritical to myself and say “who really cares about they do” as I sit here putting time and effort into writing about it. I just think it’s an important topic for discussion, especially when these perfect portraits are seen worldwide by millions of easily influenced individuals. I too, have come to learn of my naivety surrounding this – and my complete disregard to the fact that the pictures I see on the daily, are more than likely edited. But where does it stop?

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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. We have our own thoughts and opinions as to what classifies as beauty. I don’t think it’s fair to classify an image on its beauty based on whether it’s edited or not because I believe there is an aspect of beauty in all that we see. Yet, how does this fair when it comes to what the heavily edited images portray? In all honesty, it puts into perspective the unrealistic expectations that we are subject to whenever we check social media. We can be our own worst enemy when we compare ourselves to others, when we are actually comparing ourselves to something that quite simply isn’t real.

“Oh my god that figure doesn’t look real!” probably because it isn’t. Both men and women are often caught out for editing their photos when the floorboard is wobbly or there’s a funny dent in the wall. There’s a difference between the touch up that still allows you to look like you, and the touch ups where you resemble a completely different person. I’ve seen comments about this page like “girls before you compare yourself to other girls, go look at this Instagram page” and that it’s an “eye opener”, “mind blowing”. The overwhelming consensus predominantly from females, seems to be that this page is shedding the honest truth on influencers they look up to. Bodies they’ve wished they had, don’t even exist. That’s where I believe the issue lies. At the end of the day, “influencers”, influence.

So, what do you think?

My boyfriend: “It’s deceiving”

Charlotte (@real_time_to_talk) “I think when we see beauty on social media, most of the time it is fake due to the fact the individual is trying hard to impress other people and they act a lot more fake than actually being them. When we look in social media I don’t think we actually see natural people, most things about Instagram is fake.”

Georgia (georgiaa_markss) “I legit just looked through the account you posted again and even tho I see the photoshop comparisons I still always aim to look like the photoshopped versions, especially my body, like every girls bum, boobs & tummies are smoooth and they look beautiful and then I look at me and I’m like 🤷🏻‍♀️ I look like trash almost as if I completely forget that the pics are all photoshopped anyway and still feel rubbish. It’s been getting to me quite a bit more recently, so as soon as you posted that story I was like. YES.”

Anon from Instagram: “I don’t think it’s right to call women out as if they’re ugly in real life whatever the reason”

Anon from Twitter: “To be honest imo I couldn’t care less about what other people do and if I don’t like it then I guess I just unfollow. I think the insta page (from a quick glance I should say) is just doing it for their own benefit to make people look down on them and it is things like that that make celebrities feel like they need to edit their photos so much. However, that doesn’t make it okay because there is so much fake ass stuff online now and it messes with people’s heads and can have very bad impacts especially on young people..so it’s just a vicious circle of celebrity does bad thing, people destroy celebrity for portraying themselves as different (almost like ‘omg have you seen how worse they look without edits’) which makes them want to edit more cause they feel insecure so there is so much negativity in the cycle that I have made the decision to just not pay attention and to not care very much”

Mel (@YourTrvlHndbk) “I think it’s really important especially for young boys and girls to realise that magazines and Instagram are so heavily photoshopped. When you are only shown these edited images of course you are going to feel bad about yourself for not looking the same way.”

Payton (@inthefluxblog) “When influencers edit their photos to fit the social standards of ‘ideal beauty’ it can have damaging effects on those who follow them, giving them unrealistic expectations of beauty. But I think people are quick to jump to the conclusion that influencers are the ones to blame, rather than beauty culture as a whole. Influencers and followers alike are all caught in the trap of beauty standards and culture. So we should hold these century old stereotypes accountable, rather than certain individuals.”

Chloe (@WriteBluesAway) “I think it’s crazy how different pictures can be from reality as shown on that account. It’s not good for young people to compare themselves to something that’s not even real, but technology is so good that you wouldn’t even know that it’s fake a lot of the time…So I don’t think it’s right for celebrities/influencers to edit their photos so heavily. If more people showed unfiltered photos it would encourage others to do the same and embrace their natural beauty. But photos are different from real life anyway and we’re all guilty of using filters and editing. However I think it depends on the extent photos are edited, like the photos on that account are very very different from reality. It’s not a simple filter to make their skin look better but changing their bone structure and weight which is unattainable. So no, I don’t think it’s right for photos to be so heavily edited because it can cause self esteem issues, particularly for young people! But there’s a difference between that and a little filter.”

So there we have my opinion and some others added in too! I don’t believe that there’s a definitive answer as to what is defined as real beauty on Instagram, but let’s keep this discussion going in the comments – what do you think? Thank you so much for reading!

Until next time,

Emily x

 

32 Comments

  1. March 19, 2019 / 7:45 pm

    Yay I’m glad I could be a part of this! I agree 100% with what you said; it’s the fact that these body types don’t exist that makes it a problem when people compare themselves to them.

    • March 19, 2019 / 7:55 pm

      Thank you for joining in! Absolutely, it’s not a real standard to aspire to

  2. March 19, 2019 / 9:45 pm

    Really interesting discussion and opinions. It’s a shame that we start to feel like we can’t be happy with our appearance until we edit our pictures.
    Its fascinating to think that our descendants will have our pictures which look nothing like us.
    (I mean we in a modern humanity sense, not literally we!

    George – https://britvoyage.com

    • March 19, 2019 / 10:17 pm

      That’s a very good point! But I suppose it dates back to the time of oil paintings and portraits – they weren’t accurate representations either! Thank you for reading

    • March 24, 2019 / 7:25 pm

      I think the important thing with Instagram is to realise that it is fake and appreciate it for what it is, a whole bunch of nicely edited photos 😍

      • emilygabriellax
        Author
        March 24, 2019 / 8:30 pm

        A good perspective to view it from!!

  3. March 19, 2019 / 10:09 pm

    Great post! i don;t think it’s fake as such but i do think photos i general, not to mention instagram ones with all their filtering etc etc, can be misleading. Nothing beats in the flesh x

  4. March 20, 2019 / 11:12 am

    Ooo what a good chatty Tuesday! I wonder who that Anon is HMMM haha nah but I like the style of posts you are going for and I didn’t even know this account existed so learn something new about society every day!

    • March 20, 2019 / 7:22 pm

      I have no idea who that person is lol, but YAY i’m so happy to hear that thank you for reading

  5. Laura
    March 20, 2019 / 12:58 pm

    I think people are only doing what they’ve done for hundreds of years. Exaggerating features that they want us to look at, confirming to a new expectation or trend and utilising the tools they have to do it! You think, in the Victorian times it was ‘in’ to have a thin waist, big hair, pale skin – for those at the time that could afford it, they wore tight corsets, wigs and whitened powders. The photographers and artists at the time latched on to it and publicised this perfect womanly image everywhere so that others would copy it. It’s no different today, women are just using filters to change their bodies instead of perhaps resorting to more physical measures.

    • March 20, 2019 / 7:22 pm

      Yes absolutely! I literally replied to a comment earlier saying think about oil paintings from hundreds of years ago and it’s historically proven how inaccurate they were in portraying what the people actually looked like. It’s very interesting to see how it’s transformed! Thank you for reading and commenting

    • emilygabriellax
      Author
      March 24, 2019 / 8:29 pm

      Thank you so much for reading!!

  6. March 20, 2019 / 7:07 pm

    I think this is a great discussion that people should start having. It’s not about comparing an edited and unedited and saying “see, she’s actually not that pretty!” Because then that’s saying that no REAL people are beautiful. But it should be about letting people know that we need to stop having that false standard of beauty, something that’s not even achievable without editing. The idea of what beauty is needs to change in society for sure! And influencers that are all about making people want to look like them, I feel should consider their true reasons for being an “influencer”. I’m not going to sit here and say people shouldn’t edit their photos. Heck I do too! But if we’re in a position of influence, let’s make a positive change and be role models that young people can look up to in a healthy way!

    Great post. Love it!

    • March 20, 2019 / 7:20 pm

      Absolutely!! Could not have worded this better myself, it’s not about shaming the aspect of editing, but the intent and huge affect of it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting it’s really appreciated!

  7. March 20, 2019 / 7:22 pm

    I don’t know about you guys but if I go on instagram it’s to see beautiful pictures. Home staging pictures, nature, fitness, they are all edited to be more appealing, so why not people’s pictures?
    George has a point when she wonders I four descendants will truly know how we look like, but I dare hoping that these instagrammers also have some non edited family pictures somewhere 🙂

    • March 20, 2019 / 7:26 pm

      That’s a very fair point to consider! I think it’s because of the physical pressure it can put on people, but the principal is still the same! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  8. March 20, 2019 / 7:53 pm

    I think it’s so important that people can see just how heavily doctored some photos are, not to name and shame other women but to prevent them setting unrealistic standards and mentally harming themselves! I personally don’t edit my photos but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a while getting one I am comfortable with x

    • March 20, 2019 / 7:57 pm

      Oh absolutely same here! There’s like a barrier of what could be classed as unhealthy – social media influencers seem to have the biggest impact going and it’s a shame it’s not always in a positive manner

  9. Madi Dearson @madidearson.com
    March 21, 2019 / 12:51 pm

    I’m not a fan of the body issues the whole “influencer” industry creates. As a mom to a young daughter (age 6) I live in fear of it, to be honest. I do however get that its part of these people job to look good, but I do have a problem when sometimes they try to promote it as a “natural” look only achieved by a face cream or whatever they promote.

    • March 21, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      That’s definitely another good point! All these “healthy diet teas” are so damaging both mentally and physically! I’m not a mum yet but can only imagine what it must feel like wanting to protect your child from it all – thank you for reading and commenting!

  10. March 23, 2019 / 10:57 am

    I have been watching YouTube videos recently about this, and I think editing photos is okay to a degree. These girls on Instagram go beyond the acceptable though. I grew up reading magazines with thin models all over the pages, and I still struggle with my body image to this day. I don’t even want to imagine how young girls feel when they see Instagram models and want to look like them.

    Some of the girls edit their photos until they are unrecognisable in person, and that honestly scares me. I understand that they have a job to do, but this doesn’t spread a good message to their sometimes millions of followers. If there are any young girls out there like me when I was their age, they are probably comparing themselves to the photos and feeling insecure.

    • March 23, 2019 / 2:19 pm

      Sadly I think heavy photoshopping will always be a thing, which makes me worried for my own children one day! I grew up with glossy mags but nothing like on today’s scale. It’s scary we aspire to look like something that just isn’t real!

  11. March 23, 2019 / 10:04 pm

    Very interesting post! There seems to be enough of a consensus on this. For me, I’d say it’s as fake as we make it! I’ve never been one for all the additives in life but the same argument with this can be made with regard to whether or not makeup is fake beauty! It’ll be interesting to see where future generations find themselves in all of this.

    • March 23, 2019 / 10:30 pm

      I like this perspective too! It’s interesting too see how the topic changes over time, thank you for reading!

  12. March 24, 2019 / 11:29 am

    Great discussion on this topic! X

  13. April 14, 2019 / 7:02 pm

    Great post and I agree. I wish we could love ourselves as we are and embrace all of our imperfections. The image we see online isn’t “real”. I wish more people would come to terms with that.

    • emilygabriellax
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 6:06 pm

      It’s gonna be a long road to everyone understanding that not everything you see is real

  14. April 15, 2019 / 3:28 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this, and I agree with your points of view. I really love social media, but Instagram has definitely been promoting an unhealthy and sometimes unrealistic view of women’s bodies.

    • emilygabriellax
      Author
      April 15, 2019 / 2:46 pm

      100%! Thank you so much for reading and commenting

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