Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
In the past few years, social media platforms have dominated what society views as important, valuable and trendy. There’s no denying that social media has a major impact on how we view the world and most importantly, ourselves.
For this reason, insecurities can arise from such a constant exposure and intake of standards, set forth by the Internet, that one must hold themselves to.
These insecurities take on many different forms depending on which social media platform an individual is using, but one platform, in particular, creates a whole new insecurity in the form of altering facial features using filters.
Snapchat, a social media application that introduced face filters in September 2015, kickstarted the addictive trend with lighthearted rainbow-waterfall and animal filters.
However, after more and more people downloaded the app and the demand for new and more interactive filters rose, Snapchat eventually released “beauty filters.”
These filters would slim faces, smooth skin, widen eyes and more controversially, whiten skin tones.
There is an underlying message about the way beauty standards are portrayed through these filters that needs to be discussed and, furthermore, the impact it’s having on the self-esteem of Snapchat’s users.
Recently, insecurities have taken a form through the use of these beauty filters, in which experts are calling “Snapchat Dysmorphia.”
Snapchat Dysmorphia is essentially when the filters provided through social media apps, like Snapchat, have a damaging effect on the body or facial image of the user.
This has become even more of an issue in the past year, especially because Snapchat users are looking to cosmetically alter their facial features to look more like the “improved” version of themselves.
Plastic surgeons have received more and more requests from their patients to make them look more like their edited, beauty-filtered selves. According to researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, “these filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients.”
The cosmetic changes that these Snapchat users ask for are not only unrealistic to the person who asks for them, but also present an unrealistic image of the person once they post to their followers or friends.
The unfortunate reality is, these filters are encouraging unattainable cosmetic procedures that would require total facial reconstruction and that professionals aren’t comfortable with performing.
Another underlying issue is that these filters can be accessed by anyone, including celebrities.
While that might not seem like a problem, what many fail to relize is that when celebrities use these filters, it creates the idea of an even more unachievable standard of beauty that normal people idolize.
These filters are also, innately, reinforcing that Eurocentric features are the epitome of beauty and something to be desired. On the opposite end, it also implicitly insinuates that other features, like big lips and noses, are unattractive or detestable.
While it’s necessary that we acknowledge the impact these filters have on our view of ourselves and others, it also should be taken into consideration that these filters are just one of the many self-destructive elements of the world of social media.
Of course, a lot of Snapchat’s filters can be and should be taken lightheartedly, and used as a means of enjoyment. However, in the wrong hands, beauty filters like the ones presented by Snapchat can have long-lasting negative effects.
It’s important that those who use these beauty filters know their worth after the filter comes off and their phone is put down.