Photoshop or Photo Not

Our generation is not the first to grow up in a society that heavily relies on media, it isn’t even the first to allow each individual life to be molded by it. However, in our day and age, the media has become aware of each individual’s flaws and has begun to use that to its advantage. Photoshop and other false perceptions are being used negatively throughout the media in order for company successes that are not nearly as important as each individual’s self-esteem.

This needs to stop.

Photoshop is causing a decrease in quality of life, not only for the typical self-conscious teenage girl, but for everyone. In a world where beauty standards are constantly shifting, it’s impossible for anyone to find happiness. Just when a 35-year-old mother of two, nose job finally heals, her new, small button-nose will be a thing of the past, while her old, natural and more prominent one will have become the new fad. Photoshop allows beauty standards to swing back and forth, digitalizing models and their features with the click of a button, while actual changing takes time. As people see these trends and focus on how to keep themselves looking “beautiful,” they get caught up in the tides and will never be able to fully accept themselves for who they are; they’ll never be able to see their true beauty. They will never be able to find true happiness.

Not only is this digital phenomenon resulting in mass amounts of unhappiness, but its taking a severe toll on the mental health of people in our society. Through the past couple of years, trends in statistics indicate that the amount of eating disorder diagnoses in the United States have been rising steadily. Teenagers who are already faced with enough stress from school now must also face the pressures of having perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect teeth, and a perfect life. They are acting on a whim, believing every lash-growing product that has a decent commercial and trying every DIY face mask that is “guaranteed” to work, and along the way, becoming more and more stressed and unhappy than before.

Many people argue that image manipulation is not nearly as big a deal as what people are making it out to be. Everyone knows that the images are fake, but this is untrue. Because of this, young kids are growing up surrounded by beauty magazines with “lose weight quick” ads and playing with dolls that have impossible proportions, they may not be able to discern what is real from what is not. Technology is advancing quickly and is making it harder and harder for the upcoming generations to understand that the people who are seen in the media are out of reach and do not really look like they are portrayed. Image manipulation is already bad, and it is only going to get worse.

So, how do we fix this problem? The answer, although may seem ordinary, could have a profound effect if it is truly successful. We, every normal and ordinary person on this earth, must band together and come to truly appreciate ourselves. We must strive to love our flaws and to be positive examples to those around us. As we come together as a community and learn to love ourselves in spite of our imperfections, the media will follow the crowd and will promote natural beauty and acceptance instead of digitally modified, and impossible beauty.