The Filtered Life: A Beauty-Obsessed Tech Culture that Reaps Nothing

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. But, in a society that unwittingly judges a book by its cover, almost every one of us strives hard to put our perfect self on display. Unfortunately, little do we notice the struggles that go into ensuring such perfection!


This rage seems to have blown out of proportion with the recent meteoric progress of technology and social media. The ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on our Facebook profile picture now reflect the happiness in our lives. Clicking ‘Instagrammable’ selfies is now larger than life. And wouldn’t we just take a hundred pictures before selecting the best one for our WhatsApp ‘DP’?

Stuck within our bubble of self-obsession, we feel it is absolutely important for us to keep people posted about our lives and with good photographs. We’d discard the ones where we think we look unattractive. We’d even remove ourselves from such photographs where we are tagged. We’d do the most ridiculous things just for the sake of looking flawless. Indeed, there’s no room for imperfections.

No matter how hard we try, none of us can escape this illusion called perfectionism. Our idea of beauty is flawed. We proclaim perfection is a myth and harp on about inner beauty. Yet, we brood over our preconceived notions of perfectness in more ways than we can imagine. The line between wanting to look beautiful and obsessing over the same is thin. Today, it is almost blurred by the incessant advancement of technology.


Human appreciation of beauty has now transcended to a whole new level of insanity. This has paved the road to low self-esteem, body-shaming, envy, and depression. Skewed perception of beauty is now more common than you can think. To make matters worse, technology has brought about a shedload of mobile applications with photo-editing filters and features that aim at ‘perfecting’ the way we look.

Needless to say, millennials are falling prey to it; their warped sense of beauty is now the convention. Obsessed with ‘I-Woke-Up-Like-This’ selfies and Instagram-filtered photographs, millennials are losing it completely. They are falling prey to body dysmorphia without even realizing it.

The Pressure of Putting Your ‘Best Face’ Forward, Literally

Over the past few years, social media has exponentially evolved from a mere mode of interaction into a hyperactive way of life. With the soaring popularity of social media, there is one trend that has engulfed almost all of us is the tendency of swapping our truth with the ‘virtual realities.’ Amongst most of the ‘make-believe’ virtual realities claiming fame, the ‘self-presentation’ bias will certainly stand out!

Have you ever wondered whether your social media persona is an actual depiction of the person you are in your real life? In the quest to gain more appreciation on social media, are you putting a lot of effort into putting your ‘perfect’ face forward? Well, it’s the sad reality of our generation that almost each one of us is striving to build up a meticulously crafted image of ourselves on our social media accounts, which we frantically want the entire world to believe!

The impact of self-presentation bias, a tendency of portraying life in a more positive way than is the case in reality, is dangerous. The problem is amidst this tendency of camouflaging our true emotions or real-life struggles by the pictures or videos of our consciously crafted smiling faces, we are finding it difficult to come to terms with our own ‘realities.’

Filters and Photo Editing Apps Fanning Cosmetic Tweaking

As years have gone by and shown some tumultuous graphs of Instagram popularity, a warp perception of beauty has been drilled amidst the society. Gone are the days when only celebrities used to deal with constant scrutiny.

These days, almost everyone has a public, rather ‘social’ or ‘virtual’ image to maintain. Be it Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, the users’ images have been viewed on a regular basis. As a result, a compulsive preoccupation of looking ‘perfect’ has crept amongst most of the millennials.

The frantic obsession over beauty has reached another level with the advent of different photo-editing apps, Instagram or Snapchat filters. Prior to such beautification tools or photo-editing apps or filters, the cover pages of different magazines were used to influence the perception of beauty.

The celebrities are admired for their flawless facial symmetry or porcelain complexion. Even though they used to be awed at, they were never copied, because the average person could comprehend the fact that they lived a different life.

Fast forward to the present generation, the swiftly-evolving beautification apps or filters have made it possible for every user to attain perfection virtually, by bringing a little bit of tweaks in their appearances. Such obsession has given rise to a number of serious psychological issues including beauty dysmorphia, et al.

Some major issues triggered by the beautification apps are noted down below.

  • Beauty Dysmorphia Becoming an Epidemic

Beauty dysmorphia or more specifically Snapchat dysmorphia is one of the most perilous impacts of the beautification filters of Snapchat and Instagram. The concept of beauty dysmorphia has been coined from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which does not allow a person to have an accurate perception of him/her.

More specifically, someone who is battling Body Dysmorphic Disorder will fixate on a physical imperfection that does not even exist! While it might not be clinically diagnosed, the frenetic urge of lifting the wrinkles or crafting pillowy-lips, thinned-out nose, porcelain skin and sharp jaw-line might cause a person to display the tendency of body-dysmorphic disorders.

  • The Rising Popularity of Body Editing Apps

Today, it just takes a few taps and clicks to get someone a ‘model-perfect’ physique in his/her pictures, courtesy of different body-editing apps like Facetune, BeautyPlus, etc. Using such apps or filters in question, one can easily manipulate his/her images with a slim waistline, shrunk legs, curvy bust, and hips within just a few seconds.

The obsession over such editing tools has given rise to legions of people who prefer their ‘filtered selves’ to the ‘un-filtered’ or original version of their physicality. This disconnect creates a gap between what they want to look and what they actually look like.

A repertoire of body image issues or a strong sense of dissatisfaction cripples them as soon as they turn off the filters and hit the ground of reality. A huge number of people are not even holding back from going under the knife to bring their Instagram or Snapchat beauty-filtered versions into reality!

  • ‘Un-fair’ Obsession over Fairness

One of the biggest game-changers of all is the skin-lightening beautification app. For many people, having porcelain complexion is the gateway to perfection and a lot more appreciation. It’s quite natural to look in the mirror and want rooms for improvements. But things could be a little complex if your obsession crosses into racist territory.

Most of the beautification apps or filters are a bit slanted towards the western standard of beauty, which is predominantly topped by light or pale skin tones. Such applications or filters are increasingly pushing the concept that beauty should equate with white or lighter skin colors.

The perils of such racial implications are taking a serious toll on the millennials psychologically as well. Despite the emergence of anti-racist campaigns like ‘dark is beautiful’, etc., the skin-lightening apps are gaining momentum, with terrifying consequences.

An Incredible Rise of Self-Obsessed People

The grass is and will always be greener on the other side, and social media seems to have taken this perception to a new height altogether! Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an emergence of selfishness – self-absorbed people, selfies, etc., thanks to social media, which has created an unbridgeable gap between the real world and the virtual one.

One of the most irritating things about most of the social media users is the fad of broadcasting every minute detail of their regular lives, especially on their Facebook accounts. Deliberately or unconsciously, they are portraying a hyper-idealistic version of them – an image that they can’t live up to in their real lives.

Sometimes, seeing the exaggerated or inflated ‘social media’ versions of others, we are getting crippled with overwhelming emotions such as anger, envy, frustration, inferiority, aggression, and the likes.

On social media, almost everything including those smiling photographs is illuminated. This is begetting a restless generation, which is hell-bent on upgrading their social media lives, even at the cost of their peace and sanity!

Is Technology Only Leading to the Road of Thorns?

There is no denying the fact that technology with its legions of breakthroughs has taken our lives for a spin! Brimming with truckloads of expectations, we are always discovering and rediscovering the technology every now and then.

It’s true that the utopian beauty standard shaped by technology and social media, stemming from self-doubts and fear of missing out (FOMO), has seeped into our heads, and created a ruckus in our life.

But, it’s not fair to claim that technology has just overpowered our sense of logical reasoning. As technology has pushed itself into the fabric of our lives, it also has the potential to protect us from our vulnerabilities, to help us shatter our negative thoughts and boost our spirits.

Within a few years from now, consumer technology will be able to prevent and treat depression. A digital assistant like Chatbot can keep a tab on a user’s changing behavior; an accelerometer could detect the sluggishness in one’s body, a webcam could identify one’s heart rate, digital Phenotyping can detect the early signs of depression, etc. On the horizon, there are many apps that may cure depression its comorbidities i.e., anxiety, insomnia, eating disorder, etc. To wrap it up, we can say that the sooner we stop letting our digital footprints dictate our standard of living or perception of beauty, the better we will get at absorbing the positivity of technology.

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