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Negative Effects of Filters: Look Prettier, Feel Uglier!

Negative effects of filters include eating disorders, social anxiety, depression, surgeries, self-victimizing, and shallow relationships

Introduction

Negative effects of filters to eating disorders, social anxiety, depression, surgeries, self-victimizing, and shallow relationships. The information technology revolution has changed the world exponentially.

On the one hand, people from far-off corners have been connected using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. and on the other hand, it has given birth to many disorders and issues. The young generation in particular colloquially termed millennials and baby boomers are especially prone to social media abuses.

There are more than 1 billion Instagram users that upload over 80 million retouched and beautified images daily. Without knowing the negative effects of filters, people face dire emotional, physical, and psychological issues such as poor self-image, body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders, social anxiety, self-victimizing, hindrances to developing deep relationships, etc. 

Over 1 Billion People Use Beauty Filters

Negative Effects of Filters
Negative Effects of Filters: Beauty filters lead to social media obsession

 Firstly, over 1 billion people use Instagram beauty filters, which is alarming. Instagram has emerged as one of the popular social media platforms for the young generation. Since its start in 2010, Instagram has attracted over 1 billion people all over the world, especially women.

It looks especially relevant and pronounced when one talks about the new social media-obsessed generation. Young people spend a considerable time posting and sharing their pictures and videos. In order to stand out from the ever more competitive people photoshop and retouch their pictures (Kleemans, 96).

Credit for this video goes to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

The beauty filters let users set the color complexion, remove wrinkles and dark spots, and even retouch the face to make it prettier and better. A recent report shows that over 80 million photos are uploaded on Instagram each day (Kleemans, 95). But this trend of uploading so-called “perfect pictures” has many downsides. 

Beauty Filters: Obsession with “Perfection of the Self-body”

 Due to beauty filters, men and women become obsessed with the so-called “perfection of the self-body” (Kleemans, 3). It means they try to look better and smarter on social media posts. One way of doing this is setting a weight goal. They set a standard to either maintain or decrease their weight in a given time.

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Over 58% of college-going or college-aged girls have fine-tuned goals they want to achieve. With this preoccupation to lose weight, their food patterns get disturbed that consequently breeding many eating disorders.

According to a study by Mercy Multiplied, more than 90% of girls between the ages of 12 and 25, who remain active on social media platforms such as Instagram, face many eating disorders. Considering that over 72% of women use Instagram daily, the potential challenge of eating disorders looks even more disturbing (Jiang & Ngien, 2). 

Even Young Children Aged Seven Years on Diet due to Beauty Filters

Similarly, a report by Common Sense Media, titled, “Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image” reveals that not even grown-up youth, especially mature girls are obsessed with dieting, even young children aged seven years or so start dieting plans and behaviors. The same report shows there is a direct link between early dieting behavior and the use of social media platforms such as Instagram.

A nerve-wracking fact is that young people – women, in particular, idealize skinny models in magazines and newspapers. It means they want to become and look artificial like those models.

A study by Girl Scout Research Institute reveals that more than 48% of girls aged between 13 to 17 want to become as skinny as models in magazines. Hence, women are being influenced by the artificial beauty of retouched images in magazines and social media platforms.

Undergrowth of Mental (poor critical thinking) and Physical Faculties (stunted growth)

One of the negative effects of filters is psychological disorders and dire health issues. For example, a girl that is taking inspiration from Instagram and TikTok is constantly losing her weight only to look similar to a beauty icon such as Nicki Minaj, Kylie Jenner, Kardashians, etc.

This imposed dieting hampers normal growth of the body and mind because they do not get the much-needed vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins otherwise.

The stunted growth of women is related to this dream of looking prettier, smarter, and thinner than they actually are. In other words, women are so conscious about their food patterns, they start neglecting proper food, therefore, they face growth issues.

Another similar issue is the undergrowth of mental faculties in children for not taking proper food. The human mind needs a fine-tuned amount of energy for proper growth and development. If anything such as some proteins and nutrients remains unavailable, their brain remains undernourished, and many mental faculties such as creativity, critical thinking, strong character, and many others.

Negative Effects of Filters Include Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Moreover, negative effects of filters include Body Dysmorphic Disorder. BDO is a serious psychological disorder that leads to self-hating. The disorder is characterized by an excessive and all-out negative mindset about one’s own body and personality. One finds many faults in the body and starts an unencouraging behavior towards one’s self-image.

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In many cases, the female users of Instagram compare body parts such as breast size, genitalia, complexion, muscle size and tone, hair, wrinkles, blemishes, etc. These ideas on flawed appearance start influencing behaviors and mindsets. The person starts avoiding social situations and tries to remain house-bound.

In other words, there will be poor socializing and the person will lack many social skills and knowledge. Poor social literacy leads to degeneration of character. The squeezed opportunities for betterment mean the person will be in a self-exiled situation that hampers personal growth and development.

Negative Effects of Filters: Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Negativity, and Self-hatred

Beauty filters also breed many psychological challenges. They create negativity and induce behaviors that lead to self-hating and self-harm. In some cases, the negative self-image can lead to dire things like suicide. The obsession with a flawless body is making people have negative thoughts in mind that may cause suicide.

As a matter of fact, many researches show the number of suicides has increased exponentially in the wake of the social media revolution. A study revealed that the increased suicide rates in Japan from 1987 to 2005 were related to using the internet (Luxton, 2).

Another report shows that suicide has become the second biggest cause of death in young people, especially between 10-24 years across the globe. It means the increased rate of suicide and the use of social media are interlinked.

The report regards cyberbullying and the obsession with filtered beauty as equally harmful to the young generation. It means the negative attitude towards self-image made by social media infatuation deserves equal attention as cyberbullying.

Negative Effects of Filters
Negative Effects of Filters: beauty filters lead to social anxiety, depression, surgeries, self-victimizing

Beauty Filters Make You an Objectified Cartoon Character

Even women are physically hurting themselves due to the undue influence of Instagram filters. Having formed an image of a so-called perfect body, they employ various techniques to make themselves an embodiment of perfection and flawless beauty. In reality, being flawless is literally impossible. Many people have different strong and weak sides to their character and physique.

Some people may have a short height but have a good sense of humor and complexion. On the other hand, a person may have a good height and complexion but is bald. Some women may not have body parts such as nose, cheeks, lips, and breasts to be labeled as so-called “flawless” or “immaculate.” One way of improving their body is surgery.

Women, in order to make their bodies similar to Kylie Jenner or Nicki Minaj, may undergo various surgeries directed to make lips thicker and shape a smaller and pointed nose.

Some women, inspired by liquified/photoshopped bodies, want their bodies to be reshaped completely only to look like cartoon characters. The users achieve unrealistic proportions using Photoshop (by using Liquify tool) and deformed their bodies which is a dire situation. Women no longer have the natural look but they are cartoon-like characters as perceived through Instagram.

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55% Increase in Surgeries due to Beauty Filters

One of the negative effects of filters is that the number of plastic surgeries has increased manifold in recent years. An even more depressing thing is that more than 55% of plastic surgeries are not for a medical emergency but for a desire to look more beautiful and engaging.

In order to make better selfies, women are sacrificing their bodies. The same report claims that nearly 2% of the population of the world wants plastic surgery to improve its appearance. People are preoccupied with the idea of looking unique, different, and flawless in their Instagram pictures or video. Furthermore, Jacob Nasser and Kevin Chung claim there are many serious implications of cosmetic surgery.

Many Surgeries such as Bread Augmentation Cause Potential Health Challenges

Beauty filters also lead to surgeries, which is detrimental. Most breast augmentation surgeries and techniques are prone to negative consequences. Despite this, women are not considering this which leads to dire health challenges. Secondly, in most surgeries, doctors do not take into consideration the due protocol or procedure which is another fatal phenomenon.

This looks more pronounced and relevant in developing countries where healthcare service is not advanced and up-to-date (Nasser & Chung, 525). Therefore, it is quite conspicuous that Instagram-led artificial beauty is leading to surgeries that have serious health complications for women.

Removing Beauty Filters

Considering the negative impacts of filters, Instagram is removing filters that may encourage women toward plastic surgery. Spark AR, the company that develops beauty filters for women has confirmed that their so-called new “well-being policies” will remove all the filters that contribute to dysmorphic disorder and ultimately to cosmetic surgery.

They are trying to make a positive experience for the users a likely reality. There will be no filters that draw a stark contrast between their actual physique and the doctored and retouched one

Self-Obsession and Desire to Make Better Selfies

Apart from that, self-expression is another menace of obsessive social media engagement (like Instagram). The users have formed a new digital world around mobile devices. They take interest in presenting a better image, especially using beauty filters (Storr, 13). The unseen yet cutthroat competition to look better and different has led to the rise of selfie culture, a prominent form of self-expression.

A person will always try to get a selfie that not only is unique but also attention-grabbing. It necessitates wearing expensive and beautiful dresses. It is another snobbery that is an outcome of social media and mobile phones. Afterward, people will search for iconic and awe-inspiring backgrounds for their pictures. It may include any rainbow, appended pools, lakes, rivers, gorges, etc.

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Murals and walls across the world are one such location where the younger generation finds spectacular selfie backgrounds (Storr, 13). The Gulch, a beautifully painted wall in Tennessee is one such spot for selfie lovers. A set of 30-foot black and white wings that are scrawled in a disheveled manner is a favorite point for selfies.

Trying different facial expressions i.e. duck face look, pouting, etc. is an effort to look different. Then, people upload these hard-earned pictures on social media platforms with different hashtags to get maximum engagement and reach. 

Social Media Obsession and Inability to Form Deeper and Stronger Connections

People are not trying to develop a better understanding of society and build deeper and stronger connections with people. Instead, they take interest in digital make-up where they pose themselves as different, unique, and attention-grabbing.

The focus is not to establish or strengthen any relationship but to invest time and energy in a virtual world. Beauty filters are especially making people addicted to social media.

The only purpose is to serve the image they have formed on social media or trying to pose. This fear of not being social and avoiding public places is colloquially termed a social anxiety disorder.

Even if one attends a public gathering, the person with this disorder will try to avoid appearing before the public. In other words, they tend to remain in the background or some alone and separate place.

It affects not only the confidence of the person but may also hamper economic development. Hence, infatuation with beauty filters has far-reaching impacts on the socio-economic, psychological, and personal development of women.

Conclusion

To conclude, beauty filters make users, especially women, hate their self-image. Women, in order to make themselves flawless, undergo surgeries that often cause serious health complications. Therefore, the need of the hour is to make the social media involvement limited.

They should not be drugged up with Instagram life that is exceedingly artificial and cartoonish. There is no wisdom in losing or weakening physical as well as mental faculties. Therefore, filters also need to remove all the filters that often give a tacit incentive to go for surgery.

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By Rizwan Bosan

I am a ghostwriter and blogger. My 3.91 GPA in English graduation earned me a gold medal. I also hold a degree in advanced writing from the University of California.

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