Column: Filters can distort our self image

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez

In 2015, Snapchat introduced its first ever filters and they quickly gained popularity. Some of the most popular filters would give you dog ears or something silly like that.

Other apps like Facebook and Instagram followed suit, creating their own versions of Snapchat stories and providing users with tons of new filters.

What started as a fun way of image-sharing has created something a lot darker, with more and more filters coming out that distort your face to make it fit the societal standards of beauty. Lots of filters now give you a smaller nose, bigger lips, wider eyes and clear (often paler) skin.

These filters give people the one-click tools that make them feel more confident sharing photos of themselves, including me.

Using filters for years completely changed how I saw myself. Once upon a time, I took pictures without using them.

Now when I look at my natural face in a camera, it just looks off to me. That is, until I choose a filter that completely changes what I look like.

I’ve learned that filters are no good for my self-esteem, or anybody else’s. I’m trying to wean myself off of the use of face-altering filters, and I advise you all to do the same.

When we use filters, we de-normalize our faces in a way that makes it harder to accept our own faces and the faces of people who look like us. We remove the completely natural markers of personhood that should be more accepted by society.

We all have wrinkles, dark circles, pimples, hyperpigmentation and other things seen as “flaws” that are actually completely normal. All those facial features do is show that we have aged naturally. You can’t expect yourself to have the same smooth, clear skin you did as a literal baby!

I know what you’re thinking: “Kyara, I’ve seen your Instagram, sis! Practice what you preach.”

And to that I say: I know. I don’t think filters are completely evil, and I think it’s fine to use one occasionally. I just think that if you can’t take a single picture without one, you have a problem on your hands.

I also know that I still have a lot of work to do on the journey to loving myself, but someday I will get there. Someday we will get there.

It’s going to be tough at first, but it’s going to be so worth it when you look at yourself in a photo one day and all you think is, “Damn! I look good!”

 

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]