Black Mirror Reflection: Facetune

By Abby Tait

There are hundreds of photo editing apps that young people use to alter the appearance of their photos. Some of the most popular are: VSCO, Facetune, Perfect 360, and Camera+. They all contain filters/lighting adjustments/ blemish repair features that allow for said modifications.

What if we could edit people’s appearances in real life the way we edit them in photos? For example, if someone uses an app to make themselves appear thinner and their friend’s teeth look whiter – what if they could actually fix that as instantly in real life as they can on their devices?

That way, every time they met someone who had a flaw they didn’t like, they could change it. They could make noses bigger or smaller. They could make teeth crooked or straight. Foreheads longer or shorter.

You could change anything you want about anyone you meet. Think about how crazy that would be. Everyone you know would look different every time you saw them because of all the changes others were making to them.

This idea is widespread as young people mature in today’s society. We change who we are to fit the latest trends, or to purposely be different. Either way, we think we’re in total control of who we are/ what we look like. But the truth is, we’re not in control at all.

We let the media and other sources of influence shape us into who we think we want to be. We can “edit” ourselves through our photos so that we appear different to the friends online we share it with, and maybe even so we look different to ourselves.

However, after all these changes we make – will there ever be a stopping point? Will we ever feel content enough with our image to stop tweeking ourselves on an app?

The idea that we could completely change the body of anyone we know is beyond scary – but the truth of the matter is – we don’t realize how many people we know who change their appearance for us.

We scroll through our feeds and double tap without hesitation. Sure, some of us notice that these images are misleading.

I have a friend at home that edited her pictures and made herself look very thin. When I finally saw her in person months later, I was stunned that she had almost completely altered her appearance. I thought she’d just been eating right and working out.

And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand with no judgement. We do these things to make ourselves feel better, but what’s scary is that we think virtually altering ourselves is normal. It becomes second nature to us, rather than us just physically making changes we wish to see in our bodies.

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