We’re all guilty of taking multiple selfies (at the risk of straining the muscles in our face) before we choose one that we think is good enough to post on our social media. And, unfortunately, we know the damaging effects social media can have on our self-esteem, and how it can influence our perception of beauty. World-famous photographer Rankin has unveiled his newest photo series, aptly named Selfie Harm, to demonstrate just how damaging it all really is.
He photographed fifteen teenagers, some as young as 14 for a project called Visual Diet commissioned by M&C Saatchi, and asked them to edit and filter the image until they felt it was ‘social media ready’. The teenagers’ edited and unedited photos were then compared side by side. The results were drastic – smoother complexions, slimmer jawlines, wider eyes, bigger lips and makeup – so much so that some of the teens were barely recognisable. However, when asked which image they preferred, the majority of teens chose the unretouched original, perhaps suggesting that they’re altering themselves for acceptance, whether they like the changes or not.
With the ever-rising popularity of Facetune and editing apps, often our natural face seems not good enough until we’ve smoothed our skin or whitened our teeth. It’s become rare to see unedited photos, so much so that they warrant an #unedited or an #unretouched in the caption. What starts off as slight tweaking, maybe lifting your eyelids or whitening your eyes, quickly turns into changing your entire face shape and plumping up your lips. Before you know it, your online persona is completely different to the (beautiful) person behind the screen.
By showing how detrimental the effects of social media are on our self-image, Rankin has given the digital age something to not only think about, but take action against. So you have freckles, or maybe your dimples drive you crazy – they’re part of what makes you, you. Don’t give in to social media, or you may end up with more insecurities than you started with.