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?
“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,