By Jasmine Lowen
Sub-edited by Jasmine Wing
The advertisement, featuring a naturally pretty girl having her skin digitally smoothed and face slimmed, has been broadcast everywhere. If you are a casual Instagram user you may have encountered this advert multiple times already during a scrolling session. Maybe you have skipped through it while streaming videos on YouTube and shrugged it off. Or you encountered the ad on TikTok, a platform with 26.5 million monthly active users in the US, 60% of whom are between the vulnerable ages of 16 to 24.
Perhaps there is something to be said about the morality of such an advertising campaign – a campaign that takes advantage of young people and their insecurity. Whatever your thoughts though, it worked. The beauty touching app has been downloaded 10,000,000+ times on the Google Play Store alone – and over 500,000 of these have subscribed to a monetary monthly plan giving users access to new features like live editing of pictures before they are even snapped.
These doctored photos have been circling all over the Internet – girls with no pores insight. Smooth, radiant hair and skin. These pictures have been presenting a false and artificial reality.
This does more harm than meets the eye. As a casual viewer, we believe the pictures. We begin to assume that most people are in fact physically flawless, and this highlights our own failings even more. We become more insecure in turn, and the next time we see a FaceTune advertisement, we might hit the download button and start promoting falsehoods of our own.
And what if we do? Does this app magically make our life any better?
Well, no. Many people have claimed that they feel like catfishes when meeting new people online as they believe they can’t in real life match the person in their photos.
Suffice it to say then that FaceTune not only profits off of insecurity but breeds it more. It widens the gap between our digital and real lives and helps to create unrealistic beauty standards. We pose in layers of makeup and then layer filters too – making it harder to feel beautiful when the proverbial mask is off in front of the bathroom mirror in the morning.
Even people of status are feeling the effects, with Christine Teigen remarking on Twitter, “I don’t know what real skin looks like anymore. Makeup ppl on Instagram, please stop with the smoothing (unless it’s me) just kidding (I’m torn) ok maybe just chill out a bit. People of social media just know: IT’S FACETUNE, you’re beautiful, don’t compare yourself to people ok.”
Perhaps one day we can become a society that dotes on the little facial flaws that make us unique, not the version of beauty that Facetune promotes. We can value authenticity, love ourselves, and stop trying to look the same as one another.
For now, let’s stop seeing ourselves as flawed just because we are not picture perfect. It’s our quirks that make us who we are, and we are better than this – we should not covet artificially smoothed skin but should instead long for acceptance and an attitude change.