Indian beauty influencers join the debate on filters and Photoshop on social media

May 03, 2023
Indian beauty influencers join the debate on filters and Photoshop on social media

The French government recently proposed a bill that requires influencers to disclose the use of filters, photoshop and bans the promotion of plastic surgery. As the French debate the pros and cons of this new bill, we ask Indian beauty influencers and content creators to share their unfiltered views.

The emphasis on perfection is extremely high in the world of social media. From the idyllic holidays, beautiful homes, ever-smiling children, and toned bodies, the benchmark of perfection is unachievable. Yet, we continue to chase these impossible standards. The biggest side effect of social media is body dysmorphia and the physical and mental health issues that it can cause. Passed by the lower chamber of the parliament, the bill aims to regularise the content pushed out by French influencers and content creators. As per the bill, any influencer who is pushing out paid content must disclose the use of filters or Photoshop on their image, and that too at all times during the photo/video.

The genesis of this move has been surveyed that reveal the cases of body dysmorphia due to the use of social media and resulting cases of anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or depression. The bill also suggests that influencers won’t be able to promote cosmetic surgery, financial products and services (including cryptocurrencies), and counterfeit products. In sync with this rather bold yet crucial move, we talk to Indian beauty influencers and content creators about their views on the harmful effects of unlabeled images, the importance of transparency while sharing content, and what they want their viewers to really know.

Indian beauty influencers weigh in on the debate against filters and Photoshop on social media platforms

Aanam Chashmawala

I’m 100 percent of the opinion that transparency has always been the main goal that I’ve tried to communicate things through on social media. I try to keep my pictures completely unfiltered at all times, which applies to my brand Wearified as well. The images and videos go straight as is on our Instagram the way they’re shot on the camera. If you browse through our website, you will see a ‘no edit, no filter’ stamp on every single one of our images.

I’ve always believed in keeping things very, very real because it does have such an impact on someone who watching. Their mental health after looking at ads about skincare when you already have a filter on or when you have makeup on and you’re pretending to put skincare – those are the things that I stand strongly against. I don’t find that ethical at all. I’ve tried fillers and I’ve been very transparent in my journey about all the three times that I’ve done fillers. I have detailed videos, reviews, and vlogs from the times I’ve tried each of the three fillers. I’ve tried the lips, the chin, and the under eyes and I’ve been very transparent about my journey and in the way that I’ve presented my brand to the world as well. I believe that something like this is fantastic. I hope it becomes a global phenomenon because this is where we can truly help the audience as having distorted images and having people think that we live with perfect skin and a perfect life is not the truth. There are times when I’ve cried in my vlogs and I’ve let those bits be. Earlier on in my journey, I would cut out my feelings for fear of being judged. For example, I had a miscarriage couple of months ago and I vlogged my experience about the miscarriage. There are times when I’ve cried talking about it, there are times when I’ve had complete breakdowns and I’d learn to leave them in because I don’t want anybody who is watching my content to think that I’m sitting here with a perfect life . . . because I’m not. I find it so important to try to propagate authenticity.

Prableen Kaur Bhomrah

I really think this is the kind of perspective we need. I started my content creation journey for this. We’ve always tried to do this, but this strong approach will make the viewers feel more connected to whoever they follow. It’s really important for people to feel confident and feel comfortable in their skin and body. Banning people who use too much Photoshop when they don’t look like that will set a good example for the younger generation and for people who compare themselves to everything they see on social media because most of it is not true. The unrealistic expectation of flawless-looking skin and your body looking a certain way will eventually stop. It’s a progressive way for people to love their body and skin so overall I think it’s a very good initiative.

Pallavi Singh

I am in full support of this move by the French government because I really don’t use filters myself . . . a little bit of filter is okay for a certain aesthetic and you wanna get a vibe. But when people start using filters like face altering – I see people completely changing how their lips look and how their jawline looks. I think that’s insane because you’re setting a very unrealistic standard for people especially when they are looking up to you as a creator/influencer for beauty. It’s funny because I see a lot of creators who, even if they are creating content for a skincare brand or a makeup brand, use filters and I just don’t see a point there. A – you are fooling your audience with what the product is actually like. B – you are obviously sending the very wrong message that you need to have flawless skin, you need to have that perfect jawline or that perfect colour. So I am in full support that these things need to be disclosed if there is any crazy filter or face-altering and feature-changing filter out there. People need to know what is real and what is not real so that beauty standards can be kept to a very achievable standard and people don’t develop this inferiority complex by scrolling through their Instagram and looking at other people.

Ishani Mitra

The question “Will this actually help alleviate our current self-esteem crisis?” Is an important one. ⁠Back in October 2019, Instagram banned the use of filters that dramatically changed the shape of a face and its features but later updated it to ban any content that promotes dangerous cosmetic procedures. This was a step taken for the mental health of all the people consuming social media. A step that was taken from the backend to help everyone’s self-esteem and mental health. A good step.

Beauty may be subjective, and yet society or rather, social media continues to promote unattainable beauty standards. Social media platforms can take measures from their end to negate the effect these filters have on people by just banning filters that depict unrealistic, unattainable, unhealthy beauty standards instead of passing a bill that has two years of jail time along with hindrance to an influencer’s career by banning their use of social media.

To answer the question, when we’re asked to not do something, don’t we always want to do it much more than we normally would? Restrictions create curiosity in our minds. When people would be asked to not use these filters, what do you think the response in their mind would be like? So, will this bill actually help their self-esteem or is it another way of controlling lives?

While we can all agree that unrealistic filters play havoc with the minds of the young audience, it’s also important to note that the onus of projection doesn’t simply lie on the content creators but also on the platforms.

Source: lifestyleasia