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Filtering out Filters

By Tina Torre

With one swipe to the right, teens using Snapchat are satisfied with being able to easily enable a filter to capture the “best” version of themselves. But what happens when the filter comes off and teens are left to face their true selves?

Snapchat filters may seem great to teens who aspire to have lips as full as Kylie Jenner’s or skin as clear and sunkissed as Jennifer Aniston’s. However, Snapchat’s editing technology causes teens to obsess over achieving unrealistic beauty standards. Some examples of the changes made by the app’s filters include altering the coloring of a photo, emphasizing a person’s eyelashes, enlarging a user’s lips, or whitening a person’s teeth. Snapchat filters remove all of a person’s imperfections so they appear naturally beautiful and attractive. These unrealistic alterations cause users to negatively perceive what makes them unique as flaws. Self-esteem is shattered when teens go from using filters and depicting themselves as flawless to looking at their natural selves in mirrors.

[Snapchat filters] hide imperfections and give false appearances. Think before you use your filter! You are beautiful just the way you are...

These negative impacts on a teenager’s self-image are only worsened by social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. Praised influencers post content where they are painted to perfection, with contoured faces and bodies users feel they must obtain. Users feel they will receive the same attention through a number of likes if they look similar to these content creators. The beauty standard creates the expectation that attractive people are supposed to appear “effortlessly beautiful,” having all the right proportions down to each inch. Teens often feel that they cannot be seen without a filter or unless they appear presentable in society’s eyes.

Source by Olivia Wong

Many filters on Snapchat alter one's facial structure and in turn, his or her entire appearance.

“Filters make me look better, but it takes me such a long time to take the perfect picture to send to someone,” said sophomore Teresa Puccio.

People’s fixation on having an appearance similar to influencers who are seen in heavily edited Snapchat stories or Instagram posts leads to more negative effects on their mental health. Teens often go to great lengths to appear the same as those they idolize, which leads to the development of body dysmorphia and eating disorders. By realizing this appearance is unattainable, teens can also suffer from depression.

People who use editing platforms and post distorted images on social media hide their true selves, which takes a person’s beauty away.

“[Snapchat filters] hide imperfections and give false appearances. Think before you use your filter! You are beautiful just the way you are,” said Coach Rizzuti.

Teens and members of society are still realizing that Snapchat filters are not representative of reality. More and more people are recognizing that true beauty comes from within.


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