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Let’s be honest, we’ve all opened our Instagram explore page only to be met with picture after picture of girl after girl in their bikini with their perfectly sculpted body, or their flawless selfie and #goals worthy aesthetic. Instagram models have been popping up on everyone’s feed more and more in the past couple years as Instagram booms with users. Not only has the app upped its ante with explore page suggestions, but a whole new type of model has developed.

Everyone knows magazines and billboards are edited, a fact popularized by the rise of campaigns and YouTube videos that juxtapose an original photo with the edited final version that goes into print (later parodied to make a model look like a slice of pizza…which I personally enjoyed more). Instagram, though, is a whole new beast we haven’t seemed to quite figure out. Instagram is a real person’s medium. Because of the nuances of social media, the line drawn between celebrity use and “real people,” and the ideals associated with both, aren’t as finite as mass media outlets like TV or print ads. As more people become “Insta-famous”, the pressure to be flawless in every post is becoming a bigger issue than ever before. A quick Google search will reveal lists of the best photo editing apps that will make your Instagram look flawless while a look at the iPhone app store shows an endless number of apps under the category of photo editor. This isn’t just a girl problem either, 34% of men admitted to editing every picture before they post in some way.

Although everyone I know, including myself, is guilty of airbrushing a zit, or whitening their teeth with an app, Instagram models take photo editing to a whole new scale. Using photoshop retouching services and photoshoots passed off as everyday life, a dangerous “natural” flawlessness is created. It’s literally impossible to attain naturally, and it’s then that the beauty standards of Instagram start to become hazardous to a person’s self image.

Charles Gross, a YouTube vlogger and part time retoucher, released a whole video about how he edited an Instagram model’s photos. Not only does he highlight how uncomfortable he was with the amount of retouching he did on the model, but the amount of “frankensteining” he did to the photo. “Frankensteining”, a slang term in the photo editing community, means essentially what it sounds like. Instagram models hire professionals to copy and paste body parts from different photos they like from the shoot into a single photo to create a flawless final product. If you don’t believe me, here’s the video to hear Charles’ take on the situation.

To be serious, though, this is harmful to anyone’s view of themselves. A platform that is supposed to be realistic is also warped by unrealistic standards and photos that are literally only attainable with post-editing. IT’S NOT REAL, Y’ALL. So, next time you see a model with an insanely tiny waist, or a “candid” photo that seems just a little too perfect, realize that social media only shows what people want you to see, and take a moment to look at the real-world-you in fluid motion. It’s awesome and beautiful and REAL. You go.

 

Photo Credits: 1 2 3 4 5

 

Communication Major at Penn State Behrend Intersectional Feminist Do More Of What Makes You Happy
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