It’s not hard to find examples of how Photoshop creates an impossible standard. A healthy society would try to shift its standard of beauty to be more realistic and attainable. But there’s no money in that! Hence, selfie-editing programs are taking off.
With names like FaceTune, it’s pretty obvious what the main goal is: To make your selfies look better. Pretty much these apps will be familiar to Photoshop users; they do things like airbrush skin, soften the lighting, use clone stamp to remove piercings, etc.
So, I decided to put these apps to the test, using my own charming face… and doing what most people do, which is take a photo under the crappiest circumstances possible. I didn’t turn on any lights, used my front-facing camera on my phone (why your phone’s camera sucks is a whole other discussion), set the angle at shoulder level (only from below are you less flattering), and left my computer on to get a nice, sickly blue wash over my face. I also took a moment to try and imitate everybody’s favorite Internet denizen, the Butthurt Dweller and give myself derp eyes.
Surprisingly, the app actually handled it pretty well. Obviously there’s only so much it could do, but that said…
And this is with an automatic program called VisageLab; others are far more detailed and have far more features. I could clonestamp out my stubble with some of these if I wanted to.
Troublingly, though, it’s not hard to find evidence that this stuff is used on children, even babies, if you go poking around Instagram. And considering how much of the Internet is vanity, you do have to wonder how pervasive these apps are going to be. Thankfully, I am well free of the terrifying pit that is Internet dating, but I remember meeting a few people who were, ah, liberal with how they tweaked their photos.
People are always going to be vain; there’s no stopping that. But it is worth asking, in the long run, how much this vanity is going to cost us.
(Image courtesy of FaceTune)