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Are Tiktok Filters Becoming Harmful?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

What once was a fun, cute way to alter one’s appearance may lead to altering one’s perception of themselves and others. 

No more puppy dog ears.

Rather than adding a silly feature or cool effect, TikTok filters are now changing the shade of users’ skin tone. 

Content creators have been quick to critique certain filters for  Asian and Blackfishing. Filters, such as “Coco”, darken your natural skin tone. Others, like “Fox Eyes” (which has now been removed), narrow and stretch your eye shape. 

However, reflecting the Eurocentric beauty standards of our contemporary society, most of these harmful “beauty” filters lighten your skin tone. In fact, there are examples where filters have caused some people of color to be white-passing–and look like they completely lack melanin. 

Catfishing made easy with filters

To make matters worse, many of these “beauty” filters completely alter your facial structures. 

Your nose becomes smaller, your eyes become wider, your teeth become whiter, and your jawline becomes sharper. Sometimes, the person in your TikTok no longer even looks like you. 

And the worst part? They’re advertised as beauty filters. People are using these all across the platform to change their appearance, normalizing these unrealistic and/or Eurocentric qualities. 

Thanks for the body dysmorphia, TikTok

Do you know how it feels to be shamed for having features and then seeing TikToks of others using them for clout before simply removing the filter? Or, have you ever felt less confident–less beautiful–after watching a TikTok of someone, or even yourself, with one of these filters on?

If so, you’re not alone. These filters are reinforcing harmful beauty standards, negatively altering how lots of TikTok users perceive themselves. 

Some of these filters make me sad to take them off.

Alex Gholston, Her Campus Writer

Still, many users argue that these filters are just like any others–simple alterations of one’s appearance for fun. Some users argue the “Coco” filter is like getting a tan, and the “Fox Eyes” filter is similar to the shape of the animal’s eyes. Anyone who says a filter is toxic is reaching–it’s just a filter, right?

The users of TikTok remain in this ongoing debate of whether these filters are simply for fun or becoming harmful. Well, what do you think? #Filter or #NoFilter?  

Kelly Wilcox

Georgia Southern '22

Kelly Wilcox is a senior Writing & Linguistics and Philosophy double major at Georgia Southern University. She has a passion for writing in all forms; however, her areas of focus are essay writing--articles and features, editing, and new adult fiction. When she isn’t writing, Kelly enjoys caring for her two cats, betta fish, tank snail, and ferret. She also values spending quality time with her loved ones when possible. Her dream is to write and edit content for a lifestyle, entertainment, or news-focused publication while writing romantic NA fiction during her spare time. Want to see more of Kelly? IG: @kelly_wilcox_c //Twitter: @kellywilcoxc //Gmail: kellywilcoxc@gmail.com
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