The “Aged” TikTok filter is an AI generated filter that shows you an older version of yourself, one that’s decades away. Using it should cause some silly reactions, as filters normally set out to do. However, the reactions to this “Aged” filter, and the videos surrounding this topic, were all based on disgust, shock, sadness, and, lastly, fear. You could especially see these reactions from women and how they were not pleasantly shocked or delighted to see what their faces would look like in the future, despite disputing its credibility.
There was notable fear and obvious discomfort as filter users slowly processed what was going on with their faces. This response is a consequence to the social standards that are perpetuated against women on how aging equals being undesirable and unwanted. Society promotes an unhealthy view on aging, especially for women, and connects that to their beauty. Aging signifies experience and an understanding of the world that we live in, it congratulates us for staying and surviving in this world. But because societal standards are centered around the image of fertility and youthfulness, there is an extreme fear of aging.
It is so disappointing that society has equalized youthfulness to beauty and value. Aging is a natural process that is a part of life, and we should not be ashamed of progressively living through the stages of it.
“Not me getting spooked by my own aged face in the middle of the video. *nervously lathers on more sunscreen*” TikToker oliviasalmen captions, as she starts explaining how the aging parts of her maybe-future face come together while using the “Aged” TikTok filter. She explains how realistic these filters are but ends the video by jokingly, but also seriously, saying that she’s going to apply sunscreen, which insinuates her fear of aging, dispite acknowledging it. How do we fear something we understand that it’s inevitable? Many TikTokers on the app have the same mindset, but why the fear?
In an Oprah article, written by Michelle Burford, she asked a group of women, “What scares you about aging?” One of the answers read: “I’m worried about losing my looks and feeling the pressure to have plastic surgery.” There’s an overall increase in the pressure women feel to be socially youthful and wanted, because, ultimately, a woman’s experience has always been tied to the reality that we have to be wanted in order to live a life worth living; no matter the consequences. Even mental health issues can be developed during the process of acknowledging our aging as women. Professor Lisa Borrero mentions how the realization of aging brings body dissatisfaction, negative self-evaluation and even symptoms of depression. And even if some women do feel a sense of appreciation for their aging, many have a complicated and confusing dissonance over how society depicts them, making it hard for them to appreciate how they feel and look.
Ultimately, we must see this TikTok filter as something more than just a fun filter trying to show us our older selves. The reactions caused by this filter are spreading fear and acting as a wake-up call for aging in women. Despite the backlash, there were many others who appreciated looking at themselves decades away and seeing how beautiful old age looked on them. Reminding themselves of a relative or someone close to them. They viewed the concept of aging gratefully, as we should. It is unfortunate that there’s little to no normalcy to appreciate such a natural phenomenon.