Facetune: is the game going to far ?
Once upon a time, using photoshop to change someone’s body in a photo was an actual skill that one had to learn and work on, in addition to buying the dedicated softwares which don’t come cheap at all. With Instagram came the possibility to add filters which is pretty harmless as it just gives you the ability to edit the colors and aspects of a photo overall. A big turning point however was the creation of the Snapchat filters: yes the doggy filter is cute, as well as the flower crown one but these also modify the aspect of the face of the person using them : a brighter skin, longer eyelashes, and in some cases a thinner nose. And even if these were seen as funny at the time, we could already see people getting a bit addicted to using them.
But now, the photo retouching game has gone a step further with Facetune. When photo editing and retouching used to be a thing reserved to a professional public, the Facetune app has completely democratized this practice. You no longer have to sit during hours behind your laptop : changing the way you look is now just a finger click away. It’s no secret that social media (and Instagram most especially) are places that create a decrease of self esteem due to constant comparison. Yearning to have a perfect body, a flawless face and wanting to show it to the world has become one of the most important matter within the GenY & GenZ generations - and Facetune offers this opportunity. The app is used by so many celebrities and influencers that it has now become a regular thing to increase the size of your breasts and butt. It won’t come as a surprise that the Kardashian family is a heavy user of the app. However a few scandals happened lately as there were photos showing that Kim Kardashian (as well as others) clearly changed the appearance of her children in photos - therefore showing the unhealthy behaviors that this app could create.
It’s one of the most downloaded app on the app Store (1 501 days being N°1 of paid apps on the app Store) which tells how mainstream it’s become. With Facetune we’re no longer talking about making your skin glow or your eyebrows thicker : the app allows you to make your waist look thinner, upper your cheeks, shorten your arms and so on.
And the first place where we can see the results of its use is of course Instagram. For a few years now, the platform has become a real display of the dysmorphia of many girls and boys. But what are the consequences of using such an app?
What can be observed is an addiction to it, and that’s something that a lot of influencers and Youtubers have admitted. Once you’ve started using it and getting both you and your audience used to see an image of yourself that has nothing to do with the reality, how do you go back?
We all have things we’d like to change when it comes to the way we look. But even if it can feel good to change it in a photo, distorting the reality doesn’t encourage self acceptance and only hurts the self esteem. Putting makeup is one thing (even the most elaborated contouring) but changing yourself in order to share an idealistic yet false image of yourself is another. Because that’s exactly the problem : Facetuning a photo isn’t about making you feel beautiful (like makeup or clothes do) it’s about spreading an unreal version of yourself to others in order to get validation from them. Some people don’t even look like themselves anymore when using the app. Is it a new digital form of anorexia? Not being able to see yourself the way you are in a photo so badly that you try to change your image so much? Although the physical health isn’t involved here, that practice leaves your mental health in a pitiful state. It’s quite crazy to see that with all the movements out there promoting natural beauty (even youtubers filming themselves with no makeup on etc), we are still facing that kind of problems. Once more, it’s about detaching yourself from the digital world and understanding that changing your image won’t do any good in the long run. On the contrary, by using that kind of apps you create your own digital prison in which you trap yourself.
by Jessica Ayinda