Filters on Social Media : Expectations vs Reality

On social media, we view filtered images of ourselves and others as we scroll through feeds. It only takes seconds to swipe over and edit your facial features, adding a little nip here, or airbrushing skin imperfections to create the illusion that you are flawless. On the other hand, filters can also be fun to experiment with what you look like with dog ears, as a Pixar character or a new hair color. It is natural for us to compare ourselves to other people on the internet but when does it become unhealthy and detrimental to our mental health. Many people feel self-conscious about their appearance after seeing professionally edited and filtered pictures, so they seek professional services in order to obtain plump lips, sharp jaw lines, and smaller noses. This has become so popular that doctors have coined the phrase “Snapchat dysmorphia” and according to Dr. Tijion Esho more and more people are obsessing over their looks.  

Previously patients would come into clinics with pictures of celebrities or models they admired and wanted to look like,” he explains. “But with the introduction of social platforms and filters over the last five years, more and more patients come into clinics with filtered versions of themselves as the goal they want to achieve. – Dr. Tijion Esho

Cosmetic procedures are not the only results we are seeing from Social Media filters, there has also been a rise in low-self esteem, body dysmorphia and self confidence. This Canadian study goes on to explain that toxic feelings about themselves can be obtained in only five minutes of scrolling on a social media platform. If it’s only taking five minutes for us to feel bad about ourselves or compare ourselves to others how much damage is being done in the hours we spend scrolling daily. What sort of impact is this having on our mental health and what is the solution?


A friendly reminder that the internet isn’t!

♬ Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye
Video Source

Thankfully over the past few years it has become trendy to show your true unfiltered self on social media to allow others to no longer hide behind the filters and editing. It is beneficial to follow users who embrace natural beauty, body positivity and authenticity, and in turn, promote healthy self images of your yourself. If you are interested in following Canadian influencers who do, check out @thebirdspapya, @aliciamccarvell and @yourgirlkarly on Instagram.

Tikotk and Instagram stories and reels both allow you to see what filter is being used for the video you’re watching, but this does not indicate whether a filter was applied prior to it being uploaded. If photographs and videos are filtered or edited with software, should they be accompanied by a disclaimer? Or should they include a hashtag to alert users of social media platforms? Let me know your thoughts below.

Facebook: Is adding that filter on social media doing more harm than good. The harsh reality of the mental affects that digital distortions can cause. #socialmedia #bodydysmorphia #filterforthat

Twitter: Filters on #Socialmedia the expectations versus reality. #bodydysmorphia

6 thoughts on “Filters on Social Media : Expectations vs Reality

  1. Hi there, I really enjoyed your blog post! I have never really thought about the severity on how scrolling through social media affects self-esteem and confidence. Like you said, if damage to self image can happen after scrolling for only 5 minutes, imagine how much harm we are causing ourselves as we get lost in TikTok for hours! I think a disclaimer on filtered posts would be great idea, or even a hashtag so the post is categorized as filtered! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog post. I definitely can see disclaimers on filtered posts becoming a requirement when you look at what they did with advertisements on social media. It would be great to see them teach it with internet safety in schools as well. Thanks!

  2. Brilliant! I loved the video you attached – the point was made right there. I have never used a filter nor have I posted anything but pictures of my animals and very few pictures of myself online, (I did not even know that was an option!) I will now look at things so much differently.

    • Thank you for checking out my post. As far as filters are concerned, there are endless options, so I just thought it was something to keep in mind as we scroll aimlessly. It is definitely fun to see what you look like with the filters and I always feel tempted to get false eyelashes after looking at them.

  3. As someone who grew up with social media, the liberal use of editing and filters is definitely harmful. There’s nothing wrong with something simple like adding puppy dog ears or a rainbow on your face, even filters that add fake lashes or eyeliner. In fact that’s even fun! But when filters start changing the shape of your face or body, it’s going too far.

    It’s so relieving to see that showing your “natural face” is a trend now, that video you linked was a perfect example. I remember back when people would try to lie about whether or not they were using filters/editing and seeing how much they could get away with.

    If someone is editing the way they look, they should just be honest about it. I’m glad that the use of filters on TikToks and Instagram Reels are being disclosed now. I know a few small creators online that publicly disclose how they’ve edited their photos, and I think it’s brilliant. If you get stuck in a digital loop of “perfect bodies” it can absolutely be very damaging to your self esteem and mental health. Dysmorphia is a rising issue and I think more influencers should be conscious about it.

    • Thanks for reading my blog. It is definitely easy to get caught up in the digital loop of perfection and would be nice to have a little reminder that what we see isn’t always the truth.

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