Rah (name changed) was an avid user of Snapchat not for the application but for the filters. The 22 years old used to wake up every morning to click a “selfie” through Snapchat and send it to her boyfriend. “The beauty filters I used made me look really beautiful. So beautiful that I couldn’t believe this girl in the picture is really me,” she told Ground Report.
“The smoother and glowing skin, thick lips, a clear spotless face is what everyone in this generation thinks is perfect,” she added further, “And those filters gave me those features.”
The use of filters is altering natural beauty and is contributing to the bizarre and artificial beauty standards. People especially young girls are overwhelmed by these filters and they use them to get a “perfect face” at least in snaps and pictures at the same time usage of these filters also becomes a perfect meme material.
Snapchat and Instagram are some of the social media platforms that use beauty filters. While on the other hand there are applications specifically for filters like beauty cam, candy cam, B612, etc. which add to these unrealistic expectations of beauty.
It was until one day when one of Rah’s old friends got in touch with her again and asked for her picture, that her beauty balloon burst.
“My friend asked me for a picture and I boasted about having been changed a lot and looking prettier. It was in 2020 and I had not left my home because of the Covid-19 lockdown. So I sent him my filtered picture and he said yeah you look really beautiful, your freckles and spots are gone. And then he was like ‘ruk mae tujhae video call karta hu’ (wait I will do a video call with you,) and as I picked up his call he laughed he said, ‘tu toh bilkul waesi hae normal Kahan zyada pretty hui hae’? And there I heard the bubble was gone.
I realized that filters did not change my reality,” she explained.
This however is not the story of just one Rah here, there are billions of users of these filters.
The usage of these applications which can be used as an alternative, especially for make-up force people to download them more. The play store: which is an application that is inbuilt in almost all Android phones is used to download other applications, the data from the application shows that Snapchat has more than 1B downloads, Instagram has more than 1B downloads, B612 has more than 500M downloads, candy cam has more than 100M downloads and the list goes on.
The filters not only promote unattainable and unrealistic beauty standards but also invoke in their users the concept of, “negative body image”. Research has revealed that many people especially the younger generations consult plastic surgeons to change their appearance, inspired by the beauty filters.
Rah who no longer uses any kinds of beauty filters says, “When you see a perfect version of yourself through these filters and you get addicted to it. It gives you a sense of relief that is where you lose. I clicked more pictures with filters on and sometimes when I look back at the pictures I feel they are totally artificial. My reality is how I look with my raw face not how a Snapchat filter portrays me.”