Thursday, July 17, 2014


Exhibit A: The power of photo-editing tools

The other day, I was on YouTube and stumbled across Colbie Caillat's music video "Try." I had listened to the audio version when it was first released and found the lyrics to be incredibly relatable and honest. The music video was just as moving maybe even more. It was raw and deep and the message behind it was truly beautiful and inspiring. It really got me thinking, hence the lengthy post that's about to follow. 

Being a 90's baby and all, I get quite uneasy sometimes when I think about how much technology, more specifically social media has taken over our lives through the years. In this generation where social media is literally everywhere and "sharing" has been taken to a completely new level, it has become a lot easier for us, especially young girls, to compare ourselves with others online and to feel the pressure of being "perfect". If you use social media apps like Instagram or Twitter, you would know that every day, girls post tons and I mean TONS of selfies of themselves. Whether they're posing in their bikinis or just taking a quick selfie in the car, the photos always come out looking effortless and pretty. Some girls might scroll through them without another thought, but there are others who might look at them and compare themselves and wonder why they are not as pretty or as skinny or as fit as the person they see on their screen. I would know because I've been there. I used to have spur-of-the-moment thoughts like "if only I had her skin" or "I wish my hair was as nice as hers" from seeing countless Instagram snaps of people who looked like they've gotten everything figured out. I should've focused my energy elsewhere because the truth is, no one looks that flawless all the time in real life. There's a good chance that the person who posted a selfie that was envied by thousands of people online was just having a really good hair day. I think we get so absorbed into comparing ourselves to others that we forget to appreciate our differences and the things that make us special. 

I see a lot of girls these days who are unhappy with their looks and want to get work done on them when they're older. This makes me really sad because the things they don't like about themselves are the things that I see as beautiful and unique. I wish they could see that because they may see imperfection, but I see beauty. Girls should NEVER EVER feel like they need to change their appearance for anyone or that they have to look a certain way to be accepted and liked. We need to remember to tell people of all ages and color that they're beautiful more often and to remind one another that we're all beautiful in our own way. There is no other person who is like you in this world, so be the best you can be and help others be the best as well. So go ahead and give someone a compliment today and the next day or tell your friends and co-workers, or a significant other that they're beautiful. They may not see it, but I bet there's someone out there who does. 

Now about that photo I have up there. You're probably wondering what the deal with that is. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but I think people forget that pictures can also be very misleading. After all, we, the audience or speaking in social media lingo - the "followers", only see the things that the photographer wants us to see. For instance, the image on the left was what I had posted online without much editing and the one on the right, as you can tell, was enhanced, brightened, filtered, you name it. (Can I just say that I had no idea that my eye bags were that bad until I started playing around with the filters for my "after" picture). It was only then that I realized just how easily anyone can drastically transform an image or their appearance in mere seconds. Clearly the photo on the right looks like it had been worked on, but to what extent? You wouldn't know if I didn't have the "before" photo beside it. Here's another example that we see every day and is almost too hard to avoid: professional celebrity shots. There's now another tool for people to share and display professional photos of celebrities where they can reach a much wider audience: social media apps. Being that teenage girls nowadays can look at these Photoshopped images just by a few taps on their phones, they might get the wrong idea and compare themselves to something that isn't really achievable in real life. But they don't know that and no one's telling them otherwise because all they see is the after product. Those are the pictures that "sell", but they can have damaging effects on young girls and their self-esteem. It's important to not let the media get to us as they create such a false representation of how girls should look like. Beauty isn't about how many "pretty" selfies one has on Instagram or Facebook. Beauty comes from within and that's what really matters.

It's ironic how technology is meant to help us stay connected with one another and bring people together, and yet studies have shown that social media sites are making us feel lonelier than ever. This just all goes back to the downsides of social media. I can't stress enough how we should remember that not everything on the internet is what it seems and it's important to not get so absorbed in other peoples' lives. I've certainly had times where I would spend hours on my phone scrolling through pictures on Instagram, thinking how my life is so dull compared to others. Looking back, I could have done so many other things that was actually worth my time instead of just looking at a screen for hours on end. I'm going to end here because this has been such a long post. If you're still here  reading along, thank you, thank you! I would say that I'm not usually this chatty, but sometimes I just get really worked up on things. Let me add one more thing...

A final note - I strongly encourage you to watch Colbie Caillat's new music video "Try" because it's the first in a long time that the mainstream music charts have had something this moving and raw. As I mentioned earlier, the message behind it is incredibly powerful and honest. Having it go unnoticed is simply unacceptable in my book. 

1 comment:

  1. Very inspiring post, it's so true! x