Addiction of Alteration


Facetune, created by Lightricks, is a popular application used by people to edit, enhance, and retouch photos on a user’s mobile device. The app is commonly used to edit selfies and portraits. According to co-founder and CEO Zeev Farbman, Lightricks has seen 180 million downloads across its paid apps. Photo of desktop featuring Facetune by Ka Leo staff 2019.

Liahna Sedillo, Voices

In a world where “flawlessness” is praised, social media has become the face of modern society. Self-doubt and a lack of confidence are driven by “Facetuned” photos.

A 2013 UK survey done on behalf of New Look clothing revealed the power and influence of Photoshop.  “15 percent of the 18- to 24- year-olds surveyed in a 2000 people poll, believed that the models who are used in mass communication accurately represent what the human body looks like.” It additionally revealed that “over 650 of the participants were unconfident or extremely unconfident with their body.”

Impressionable youth, even as young as 11-years-old, have suffered from physical harm because of impossible standards perpetuated in the media.

This horrifying behavior is encouraged through mass media,  which bombards users with altered models and perceived perfection.

Christie Tcharkhoutian, a licensed family therapist in Los Angeles claims in an interview with SheKnows that “retouching images cultivates the subconscious fear that our imperfections are unacceptable and we can’t lead fulfilling, happy lives if we’re anything short of perfect.”

Apps titled “Make me Thin” and “Perfect Me” are beyond disheartening to see and the internet is flooded with these disgusting editing labels. The first thing you see when you type into Google “Photoshop and Instagram” are tutorials. Yes, tutorials. In case you wanted a lesson on making you hate yourself, it’s available in the blink of an eye.  

Social media has made gaining admiration, fame, and praise from strangers the new norm. Who wouldn’t want that? Mass adoration! Attention is compelling but it shouldn’t be rewarded with a one-dimensional you.

In 2015, celebrity model, singer, and actress Zendaya posted a photo of herself taken during a photoshoot for a Modeliste Magazine. On Instagram, she revealed the original picture taken without alterations.  

“Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso quite manipulated,” her caption read.

The root of the problem is influence. Celebrities, corporations, and big brands need to start glamorizing real, natural beauty.

Positive body movements have gained attention in the media industry fairly recently. Clothing brands including Aerie, ModCloth, ASOS, Old Navy, and Target are embracing models of truly every size, color, and look. Real human bodies are being praised and promoted.

Movements like these should be globalized.

This world isn’t meant to be perfected and altered. Social media and Photoshop can’t simply disappear, but this dangerous phenomenon can be recognized and minimized. If campaigns like Heroes Pledge for Advertisers, Aerie Real, and the eight-point Body Peace Treaty are already being made by major brands like Aerie and Seventeen Magazine, any media ad, company, celebrity, and label can fight against “beauty” alterations.