Social media is a very visual medium, especially apps like Instagram. It’s well documented that a lot of ‘grammers’ use Facetune to edit their photos. However, when it comes to Facetune and body image what impact is it having on us?
I did an online search and came across this article which states that a massive 90% of adolescents use social media for over 2 hours a day. It goes onto say that girls are more exposed to social media than boys, and that selfie culture can cause girls to compare themselves to others.
It even talks about an increase in cosmetic procedures in young people aged 13-19 years old, and links this trend to the rise in social media use.
I admit that I use social media a lot. This has only increased since I started blogging. I find it all too easy to get lost down the ‘rabbit hole’ of social media sites.
What is Facetune?
In case you’re not familiar with Facetune, it’s a paid app people can use to alter, or ‘enhance’, their photographs. I guess you might say it’s a more user-friendly version of Photoshop.
Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it does seem that a lot of people use the app to enhance their physical appearance.
Facetune and body image – The viewer experience
In some cases it’s obvious that photos have been digitally altered, but not always, and I think this is where the problem lies.
We scroll through our news feeds, and we’re probably aware to some degree that a lot of the pictures we see have been edited. I know I am.
However, that hasn’t stopped me feeling unhappy with how I look sometimes. In the past I’ve started to become overly critical of my personal appearance for no apparent reason.
When I’ve taken a break from social media, I’ve found I’m able to be more objective about my appearance. So, from my experience a lot of these inner comparisons can happen without us really being aware of it until we start feeling the mental effects.
The user experience
So, what about the people who are using Facetune – what might be happening there?
Well, for some people it might be harmless fun. They can muck around with their photos, but not feel overly invested in the result.
For others, they may go to great lengths to alter their appearance. They might feel they need to emmulate popular influencers. Perhaps a certain ‘look’ is in trend and they want to follow it.
Another reason might be that they’re not at all happy with their appearance. Their altered photo might represent how they wished they looked.
Some people may feel fundamentally unhappy with who they are and Facetune is a way of ‘fixing’ this. However, it may only serve to compound the feelings of unhappiness.
Testing Facetune for myself
I’ve never used Facetune before, so I was unsure what it was capable of in terms of editing. I wanted to experience it to see how it made me feel. I also wanted to get an insight into how it might affect people’s perceptions of their body image.
I used it to edit a full-body shot and head-shot of myself. It was certainly an eye-opening experience into Facetune and body image, and how it could affect people.
Are apps like Facetune ‘bad’?
I question the motives behind why apps like Facetune are developed. I wonder whether they’re partly cashing in on people’s insecurities and their desire to alter how they look.
On the other side, there are probably people who use apps like Facetune for fun where they don’t impact on their body image at all.
My view is that if someone has underlying insecurities about the way they look, then apps like Facetune could potentially feed into these insecurities. Check out the post I wrote about social media and eating disorders.
Social media use has been linked to body image insecurities. So, some people might use Facetune in an attempt to reduce these insecure feelings, but in the longer term it makes them worse.
What can we do about it?
It might be worth asking yourself whether your social media use may be having an impact on your body image. Have you started to feel more negatively about how you look?
If you use Facetune, does this help you feel better, or do you end up feeling worse about how you look?
I’d encourage you to be more mindful of how you feel when using both social media and apps like Facetune.
If you find you’re becoming more critical your physical appearance, then consider having some time away from social media. See how that impacts on your body image.
Welcome! I’m a Psychologist and fitness enthusiast. My passion is supporting people with their health and wellbeing, and inspiring them to pursue the things they love doing. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or want to collaborate!