#NoFilter

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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#DoinItForTheGram

 

Let’s Set the Scene.

Take a look at the photos you uploaded from your last night out. No doubt they’re a blurry series of bottle girls with sparklers, selfies with random people from the table next to you, a snapshot of what seems to be your friend’s reaction to the funniest joke ever told, someone standing on the table at some point and maybe a botched video of a synchronised dance.

Now, Take Another Look

Now take another look. Those bottle girls weren’t headed towards your table, those random people had no idea you were in a selfie with them, and the photo of your friends laughing was meticulously chosen out of 45 different shots and an hour-long discussion over WhatsApp. That person standing on the table? They climbed up there themselves and yelled at you to take a photo of them until it looked “believably candid” (it didn’t). And that dance? You and your friends watched a quick YouTube tutorial before you left and mastered the basic moves.

The Cooler Something is, The Less Time You Have to Get Out Your Camera

Think about that night. Was it really that fun? Did you remember it though your own eyes, or through a Snapchat filter?

Next time you go out, be truly spontaneous. Our generation is obsessed with doin’ it for the ‘gram, so maybe try and do cool things without feeling the need to replicate it as soon as it happens in order to catch it on camera (“Wait wait wait, do that again! My Snapchat was still loading!”). It’s time to realise that the cooler something is, the less time you have to get out your camera.

 

#SocialNarcissism

You start getting ready for a night out, leaving an extra twenty minutes to spare, set aside for the most important part of your night out: taking selfies. It all begins with primer (you don’t know what it does but everyone on YouTube uses it) and reconstruct your face from the bottom-up. Foundation (flawless skin = less editing required), eyebrows (“Maybe if they’re bushy enough, people will ask if I’m related to Cara Delevingne!”), liquid eyeliner (so you can use the hashtag, #WingOnFleek), lipstick (“No this is my natural lip colour”) with a heavy dosage of lip liner (not conforming to the rule, ‘Don’t Colour Outside The Lines’) and 700 pairs of false eyelashes (from h&m, but you tag @HudaBeauty).

Next step? Hair. Centre parting, straight and tucked away neatly behind your ears so you can begin your chest contour. After enlisting the help of both your sisters (and your neighbour), you manage to get your bodycon dress on, only smudging one of your boobs (#success).

Finally, the time has come. The golden twenty minutes you’ve been preparing yourself for over the last five hours. You scour the whole house for the best lighting, running like a one-legged donkey down the stairs in your strappy, open-toe, death contraptions. At last! You’ve found the perfect place. That cute little nook just under your kitchen sink, where you can point the lamp you brought down from your bedroom directly at your face to get the full-on effect of all your gloriousness. Brushing a sponge out of the background of your shot, you begin your process. You know your angles and you know your poses.

14 minutes later you emerge, your phone nearly dead and with no extra storage space. But it was worth it. You present your accomplishments to your sister, ready to start whittling down your top ten to send to your friends to determine the best, most Instagrammable photo. But instead, your sister takes a step away from you, wrinkling her nose, “You smell like bleach, go and have a shower”

 

 

So what is it that has made this trend spiral so quickly out of control? Selfies used to be the source of ridicule for its proprietors, but now even the most anti-selfie person will have at least one hidden away in the depths of their Facebook photo albums (most likely, a grainy webcam quality type, with an Apple salesman passing by in the background). When did it become cool to openly admit to the participating in the epitomic act of narcissism? The notion that one applies makeup in such a way to alter their facial structure and will happily journey around their house in search of the best lighting is alien to older generations, but to millennials; simply a way of life.

So what do you think? Should we embrace this form of social narcissism, or try and change our ways before it becomes too late?

 

Share your opinions below!