Plastic Surgery at the Swipe of a Finger

How Our Culture Tarnishes the Confidence of Young Women


photo by Alexis Franczyk / edited by Hannah Shiflett

The magic of Facetune!

Alexis Franczyk, Reporter

There was a time when retouching a photo required a whole lot of tools – a steady hand, a sharp eye, pastes, rulers, brushes, rubber rollers, rubber cement, and a plethora of paint shades.  Experts would carefully retouch a photo by hand. But with the technological advancements, it would be pretty difficult to paint details on a photo, considering most photos are seen on screens in the modern era. Through such advancements, photos can now be retouched and edited in seconds with one little tool that takes up less than one gigabyte of your phone’s storage – Facetune.

While retouching photos has been conducted since the very beginning of photography itself, Facetune editing has become dangerous in a world where self-esteem is so low.

Real women have flaws and imperfections, but they’re just as beautiful as the airbrushed models on magazine covers.”

It’s probably the case that the majority of people who edit their own photos are women. With all of the magazines and commercials that set the “standard” for the ideal way a woman should look, the self-esteem of women everywhere, all over the world, has drastically gone down. All girls want to feel beautiful, and they’re being told by big companies that there is a certain way to look beautiful – skinny waist, clear skin, petite figure, and no hair (except for their long, blonde locks that frame their structured face).

Young women are told that if they are not born with these unrealistic characteristics, they need to conform and strive to meet these standards. But when all the waist trainers and makeup fail to meet these outrageous standards, women turn to technology to virtually retouch themselves. At the touch of a button, skin is smoothed, limbs are slimmed, and “imperfections” are airbrushed away.

An overwhelming number of teenage girls retouch their photos to make themselves into what they think are better, more beautiful versions of themselves, creating online alter egos because that is what they are told to do by society. These young girls are trying to live up to a standard that is ridiculous. This online persona is the “perfect girl” with no imperfections . . . but then reality seeps in and you start to resent yourself for not being as “beautiful” or “perfect” as your virtual persona.

An alarming amount of damage is done to the confidence of women at a ripe age, and it needs to stop. Real women are not perfect. Real women have flaws and imperfections, but they’re just as beautiful as the airbrushed models on magazine covers. Constantly comparing yourself to models and actresses creates unnecessary psychological damage. And the last thing teenagers need, on top of keeping up with grades and dealing with the harsh world that we live in today, is to be competing with looks.  Constantly comparing yourself to others is a toxic way for adolescent women to grow up, but that is the environment our society has created.

Do we really want young women to grow up in a world where they need to compete for value with their bodies?  This judgmental, comparative culture is one that I want no part in and you shouldn’t, either. You do not need a slim waist and clear face to be beautiful, and if you humiliate women for not looking up to “standard”  or being pretty enough, then shame on you. 

And the next time you’re inclined to tune up your face with an app that only invites self-resentment, try looking in the mirror instead and acknowledging that beauty needs no editing.