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Photo filters take narcissism to a new extreme

[quote]By Sushmitha Suresh

Online Writer
Graphic by Sushmitha Suresh[/quote]

With around 100 million users, Snapchat has taken social media communication to a new level. Instead of texting, people find it easier to communicate over Snapchat rather than to call or even text. But, the question should be posed, with the filters of the app, do we lose our sense of self? Are we altering our real appearances to create an internet personality?

As if selfies weren’t taking off as a global sensation already, this Snapchat update was a serious confidence booster when it came to selfies and picture taking self-esteem,” Julianne Stanley, writer for Growing Social Media, said.

We were introduced to easy-to-use filters in 2010, when Instagram was first launched. We were surprised at how easy it was to enhance our pictures and make our low resolution photos a little prettier. But, have we taken this technology too far?

“I think people use filters on their photos because when you’re given the chance to tweak your appearance, it can be tempting. Everyone wants to look their best and give a good impression,” senior Caroline Bourg said. “When everyone else seems flawless on social media, people feel like they stick out if they don’t put effort into their appearance.”

According to an informal survey, 47.1 percent of Metea Valley students admit to using Instagram filters and 77.7 percent use Snapchat filters. Recently, Snapchat released lenses, that are fun animations that may turn you into a dog or a person output_k4Xtl4 (1)

throwing up a rainbow. One of these particular lenses, however, seems to alter your face so minimally, that it takes away your possible flaws with a classic bright filter, a trim of your face and the slight enlargement of your eyes.

According to Buzzfeed writer Kiera Wright-Ruiz, people in Korea popularly get plastic surgery to enlarge their eyes and lose weight off of their face in order to look “kawaii”, a Japanese term meaning cute. The procedure just widens their eyes enough for them to look more attractive in terms of Korean society expectations.

[quote]GIF by Sushmitha Suresh[/quote]


[quote]Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed[/quote]

48.6 percent of students have admitted to using a filter to alter their appearance. We’re starting to create something called “internet personalities”, places where we can portray ourselves in a different light. What people see in real life is no longer what they will see online. Because one person started editing their photos to look beautiful, everyone’s trying to match them. We’re trying to meet these insane standards on social media. Is this what we’re really going to call beauty?

Filters from The Stampede on Vimeo.

[quote]Video by Sushi Suresh & Madison Mohns (Youtube: @sushimohnster)[/quote]

According to a recent survey by Luster Premium White, our generation will take over 27,000 selfies in our lifetime. Are certain filters taking this narcissism to an extreme? “It creates unrealistic expectations for people. Nowadays, everyone is so glued to their phones and when there’s such large exposure to apps like Instagram, it has a large lasting impact and furthers the expectation,” Bourg said.

[polldaddy poll=9356008]

Top models that have thousands of followers on Instagram use filters and photo editing apps on the daily. Kamie Crawford, a model from Maryland, tells Kate Friedman, writer for Elle, that the “Ideals of beauty are so farfetched, it feels like every single moment you have to be perfect,” she said. “Usually I do underneath my eyes, dark circles or creases. I also use Perfect365, an app that can give me eyelashes because mine are really short.” For someone that recognizes that the societal expectations of beauty are incredibly hard to meet, she definitely submits to them by using the technology she’s presented with.

It starts with a simple filter that enlarges your eyes, shaves a couple pounds off of your face, and clears your skin. This can all be done by the click of a button. Whether or not we submit to this new level of narcissism is our choice, but the fact of the matter is, that you can’t believe everything you see online anymore. We will continue to falsify our appearances so our insecurities don’t get the best of us. “I feel like filters are a temporary fix,” Bourg said, emphasizing the air quotes around “fix”. “The best thing we can do is build up each other’s confidence so people don’t view filters as something that’s necessary.”


*Disclaimer: This article is categorized as Opinions. The views of this article are that of the writer and do not represent the Stampede staff as a whole and should not be interpreted as a staff editorial. 

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Comments (11)

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  • S

    sum dudNov 13, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Half of the comment section took this to heart, all the article is really saying is that filters are used by everyone and i feel like they do kinda put expectations to reality with so many filters in the present day

  • (

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)Mar 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    I think this article is an anti-Photoshop article in disguise. Not that I disagree with this movement.But I like all the names you guys are coming up with for yourselves.

    A good comical example is college humor’s “Photoshop Has Gone Too Far” video, which is perfectly school appropriate might I add.

  • T

    truth sandwichMar 22, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I think what this article was getting at was the concern that, as a society, the focus upon appearances is too over-emphasized. Rather than learn to accept our own flaws, there is a rise in apps that allow people to cover up how they look and tweak things about themselves that aren’t deemed attractive. This article points out this unsettling surge in superficiality, as evidenced by the flaw-fixing filter and the similar-functioning apps mentioned in the article. Those of you saying that the sillier filters are causing no harm are not even mentioning the flaw-reducing filters or the trend of selfie-superficiality.

  • P

    plspeopleMar 21, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Sushi isn’t saying that filters on snapchat like the square face or the rainbow mouth are a problem. She’s talking about the increased popularity of filters created for the sole purpose of changing someones raw appearance, so you still look like you, yet you’re changed for the better. Maybe take the time to actually read the article and understand the point she’s making before you bash it.

  • T

    trutherMar 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    You said that filters just hide people’s flaws and you obviously have a problem with that. Are you trying to say that you only want to see the flaws in other people? people have the right to look how they choose. this article, i think, is just a form of prejudice complaining about how people look.

    ALSO, the image of you that keeps switching between the two shows no difference. i cant tell what the difference is if you were trying to convey that.

    using a filter doesn’t make you any less of a person. you are doing it for fun because it is available. this article makes it seem like a crime. this topic is too irrelevant to even argue about.

  • S

    SorryMar 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    For now I on, I won’t fool leprechauns into coming near my mouth when I have a rainbow coming out.

  • C

    Concerned Metea StudentMar 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Yeah this is totally right. I feel very guilty for letting people believe that I can actually spit rainbows out of my mouth. I will stop altering my appearance with these filters. Never again will I face swap with someone to make myself look better. I am sorry for altering my image to fool all my followers.

  • B

    bowl of riceMar 21, 2016 at 11:39 am

    who cares, it is just filters. its not like you are photo shopping your whole is just a small alteration for fun. I’m pretty sure snap chat users use their filters for fun and to enjoy the weird stuff you can do with your face. i doubt that people use the filters to improve their personal image. last time i checked, having a fat nose, looking like an alien, or having a rainbow come out of your mouth is not going to improve your image. its just going to make your friends laugh, that’s all. I think you are over reacting over this. snapchat is making you look like a cartoon and sending it to only your friends. which is why snap filters are nothing more than a new media of having fun and not a new media for criticism.

  • H

    HervenMar 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I don’t think snapchat filters are a big deal because everything on snapchat gets deleted anyway. Either you’re sending a picture to a friend or putting it on your story. Either way its not that big of a deal to me. But I also think that we really shouldn’t put a hard right and wrong to everything. The world is not black and white, a few filters never hurt anybody.

  • A

    abhiMar 21, 2016 at 10:43 am

    lol putting dog ears on my head or making my head look like a pear isn’t really making me look better idk what youre getting at

  • I

    I Have an Old Phone, So What?Mar 21, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I can’t use filters on my SC because I have a 4S. :/

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Photo filters take narcissism to a new extreme