In case you haven’t already heard of “Selfie/ Snapchat Dysmorphia”, it’s a mental illness where people go under the knife to look like a “more filtered version” of themselves in reality. Out of many Snapchat and Instagram filters, there are various filters that make your face look tighter, eyes look bigger, and lips more pout worthy.
All fun and games aside, these filters can trigger those who suffer from low self-esteem and self- acceptance to have the exact same facial features like the selfie filters.
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To that extent, Instagram has decided to ban all augmented reality, or AR filters that depict or have any relation to plastic surgery. The announcement was made last week on Facebook by SparkAR, the company that lets people create their own selfies on Instagram. The company further added that they will be removing all effects that have any association with plastic surgery from the Instagram Effect Gallery, postponing the approval and removing the approval of any new filters
Some of the filters like “Fix Me” show a pre-surgery face with pen marks for potential cheek fillers, eyebrow lift, and a nose job that has been removed from the effect gallery. The pen marks read ‘fix me’ and ‘lift’. There is also slight bruising that forms under the eyes and on the nose gives off a look of already having some facial work done. Other filters related to plastic surgery on Instagram include “Plastica” and “Bad Botox”, which has become viral among Instagrammers.
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People who compare themselves to AR filters, that have very high idealistic standards of attraction but are also unachievable in reality. These filters only differentiate what is reality and fantasy for most people, especially those who are suffering from existing body dysmorphia conditions. Even for people who are mentally sane, there is that constant exposure to filters that can increasingly develop an obsession over human beauty and physical flaws. Not to mention there are various editing apps like FaceTune with one common goal- to help enhance your looks to where all flaws are unnoticeable. Although this may be just harmless fun, it can also make people become harsher critics on themselves.
Given that we have completely drowned in the massive seas of a self-obsessive culture, this filter ban by Instagram might be small to some, but can actually make a great difference to how people perceive themselves. This also can help combat any mental issues that are triggered by what’s seen online daily.