Instagram vs Reality

Before we jump into this taboo topic (photos included), let me first start by saying: This article is not about body shaming. I repeat, this article is not about body shaming. The intention of this article is to address how out of hand photoshopping and Facetuning photos has gotten. Like, way out of hand. It’s bad enough people pretend to live lavish/perfect lives on the gram, but now, people are photoshopping themselves to unrealistic/perfect proportions. Some of you may ask, “But Carmen, what’s wrong with that? Let them do what they want; everyone knows social media isn’t real life…” But do we? Cause at the moment, we’re walking a really thin line between fake and reality.

Let’s be honest, sharing photos on social media is nothing new. However, quick editing tools to alter your body are – and this is where the issue lies. With the rapid availability of editing tools that are super easy and fast to use, you can alter your appearance within minutes. With that being said, how do you know if the images you’re seeing are photoshopped or not? To the untrained eye, most people don’t. And since most people don’t know what to look for, this altered body has now become their reality, their “#BodyGoals”. Now begins the vicious cycle of editing more and more, trying to live up to these completely doctored photos that have set an incredibly unrealistic beauty standard for the masses. Then in turn, these images are shoved down our throats every time we open our social media apps. Am I saying delete your social media? If you want to, go for it. But if you want to keep it, then please understand you do NOT have to try and look like those people you follow – because even those people, don’t look like those people.

So what happens when photoshopped images become the new normal without people knowing? Your mental health and self-worth take a hit. The pursuit of perfection is tiring, anxiety-ridden, unrealistic and damn right depressing. And as someone who’s suffered with a shit-ton of body issues my entire life, I can vouch for all these feelings. We’re going to keep going round and round Facetuning ourselves to look like Facetuned photos until all of us look like clones. Embrace your own beauty, your own flaws, and don’t let your social media feed distort your self-worth.

On that note, below are a few images to showcase: 1) How different people look in person/video*, 2) How to spot photoshop, and 3) Noticeably altered photos. *Side note: There’s apps that can photoshop videos, but they’re far more expensive, and most people don’t opt to get them. With that being said, unaltered videos can be very telling.

Instagram photo (left) vs. Video (right).
Video (left) vs. Instagram photo (right)
Instagram photo (left) vs. Video (right)
Instagram photo (left) vs. Video (right)
Instagram photo (left) vs. Video (right)

Again, no body shaming here. But do people not realize they’ll be seen outside of a photo? You can’t live as a still (photoshopped) image forever. Anyways, continuing on…

Video (left) vs. Instagram photo (right)
Instagram photo (left) vs. Paparazzi photo (right)
Instagram photos (left) vs. Getty Images (right)
Instagram photo (left) vs. Unedited photo (right)

Now, these images are a little trickier to spot the photoshop/Facetune, but they include blurring backgrounds (easier to hide jagged/pulled edges) and warped/curved lines.

Clues: The warped railing and wavy gym mat – making her waist tinier, and butt bigger.
Clues: Blurred background and a straight horizon line that dips at her rib cage.
Clues: The wavy whiteboard behind her

And lastly, a side by side of what was posted on social media, versus what the actual image looks like. Brought to you by @Beauty.False (an account I highly recommend following).

Let me end by saying: Every un-photoshopped image posted above is beautiful. Every. Single. One. We each have our own unique look, and that’s what makes us beautiful. It’s incredibly challenging living in a society that places so much emphasis on outward beauty, when truly, it should be about inward beauty. Cheesy as that sounds, at the end of the day, we’re all gonna get old, saggy and wrinkly. And all that’s going to be left, is our personality – so make sure it’s a good one.


*Additional images sourced from r/Instagramreality (a FAV of mine) and CelebFace.

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