I’ve Been Living Under a Rock – What Are Filters?

Let’s take a second to discuss the trend that has swept through the nation: filters. Brought to us by Snapchat, these are digitally altering effects that can be used to make you look like anything, from a dalmatian, to even a rainbow-puking baby.


Why Are We So Obsessed with Them?

Yes, we all call them a ‘bit of fun’, but essentially, filters have split into two very distinct categories: some are ‘Joke Filters’. These are the ones that nearly distort your whole face, making it obvious that the selfie isn’t intended to look attractive, simply funny. For example, the ones that perhaps make your face look like a giant raspberry, or a dancing panda etc.

However, the second category is more sinister – ‘No-Filter Filters’. These ones retain an element of cartoonish fun, for example dog ears, whilst digitally enhancing your face in subtle ways. For instance, the famed ‘Flower Crown’ filter narrows your jawline and nose, smooths out your forehead, widens your eyes, plumps your lips and even throws in a free set of grey contact lenses to boot. Whilst all of these may seem like obvious alterations, when put together with the guise of a flower crown being the centre of attention, these subtle changes are easily overlooked.


Beauty Inflation

Go through your Snapchat stories. Count the number of times you see a selfie posted without a filter – not many, huh?. So many people are now coming forward saying they feel uncomfortable to post a selfie without a filter. Why? Because these filters have re-defined what ‘beauty’ is. They have created a world where everyone is ‘beautiful’ and therefore to post a selfie without a filter automatically puts you below your filter-sporting counterpart.

But how can we conform to these beauty standards? As a generation, we should be celebrating all types of beauty; small eyes, wide nose, prominent jaw and all! But now, such features are being hidden by the contortion of pixels, designed to re-arrange your face into something completely, unnoticeably new. And the scariest part is, these filers are making us all look the same.


It’s All About Inner Beauty

Your use of a filter creates a domino effect, whereby the next person may feel more inclined to use one in order to keep up with this ever-inflating sense of beauty that Snapchat has created. It’s time to act. Stop using these filters and slowly we can normalise what beauty means again. We can learn to accept the wrinkles on our foreheads and the natural colour of our eyes. So, instead of spending time hiding behind a mask on social media, let’s focus on getting our inner beauty ‘on fleek’.




What do you think – would you be able to abandon your favourite filter?

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Do You Speak Emoji?

Let’s talk about Emojis for a second (a word constructed from Japanese: e-, picture, mo– writing, ji– character). When was the last time you sent a text message without one? IF that’s even possible, because how else would they understand your joke without the crying/laughing emoji stamped three times on the end of your text?

Emojis have suddenly become a part of our daily written communication. They enrich and draw out meanings from sentences you never thought were there; for instance if you read, “I like her *peach emoji*” as some sort of culinary compliment, you can basically consider yourself as illiterate in the world of social media. Does this mean our grasp of language become so infantile that we require pictures alongside our words to aid their understanding? Or maybe we just like the way they make our texts look pretty and colourful.

Proceed With Caution

Some suggest that Emoji is the first global language, similar to body language – a smile in one country is a smile in the other, so surely a smiley emoji mimics these rules too. People all around the world can comment on each other’s latest Instagram photos with a simple winking emoji and it is globally understood to be a sign of flirtation. Is that not amazing? You can flirt with someone who doesn’t even speak a word of your language? However there are some issues – as with all universal norms, behaviour is interpreted within its social context, so as long as you don’t let them permeate your professional communication, there can be no harm. BUT proceed with caution. When using emojis, make sure you know their pragmatic meaning before you use them. You never know when inserting an aubergine emoji into a caption of your dinner is descriptive, or just plain rude.




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