An Open Letter to Girls Who Take Selfies and Edit Them with Phone Apps

Gee, you look so natural.

Gee, you look so natural.

Stop. Just stop.
Just a thought: if you aren’t happy with your appearance, don’t take and post selfies that you have “edited” using free photo enhancing apps on your cellphone. You do realize that the only person you’re fooling is that kid from second grade who moved to Japan to play the cello in the Japanese National Orchestra and hasn’t seen you since 1984, right?
One of my friends and I send each other ugly selfies almost daily. Nothing breaks the monotony of waiting for a pap smear like getting a text from a friend with a selfie of herself with veins bulging from her neck and looking all pop eyed. Especially when the doctor walks in and you’re still laying there with your gown on backwards giggling. Anyway, she and I also like to grab photos of people from our Facebook friends who have clearly enhanced their selfies, and send them to one another. If only it weren’t a sad cometary on how our culture is so obsessed with portraying an image and persona on social media that isn’t even mildly representative of our real life, then I could laugh about these photos even more. The point is, girls, that you think we all think you really look like that, but in reality, we saw you at Winn-Dixie yesterday, and you didn’t have a halo behind you and deep, baby-blue eyes.
Back when I was a kid, I used to watch this show named Moonlighting. It starred a former, aging Cover Girl named Cybill Shepherd and a little known guy with a receding hairline named Bruce Willis. Every single time Cybill was in the frame by herself, a soft glow lens was used. Look, I wasn’t there. I don’t know if they filmed her with her own special camera, or if they just fluffed her up in editing, but it became so damn distracting that I couldn’t even watch the show. Bruce Willis: normal. Cybill Shepherd: moonlight glow. Back and forth, back and forth. It drove me crazy! Now I realize it was the 80s, but I’m willing to bet that ABC had better editing equipment in their California studios than your cellphone does, even if you do have an iPhone 6. So if ABC couldn’t fool me when I was ten, what makes you think you can fool us with your own hazy shade of Photoshop?
The thing with phone editing apps is that they aren’t really photo editing programs. Trust me, Anna Wintour isn’t sitting behind her desk at Condé Nast fluffing up the next cover with an Instagram filter. These filters apply a specific look to the entire photograph. It’s not like you can go in and streamline your waist like a seasoned artist. You can crop the photo to cut off part of your arm so you don’t look so big (yep, I do that one all the time, can’t help myself, I have Oprah arms), but you can’t pick and choose portions of the image to enhance. The other day I saw some girl’s selfie and it had so much softening filter on it that she looked like Voldemort. Hello!!! You managed to erase your giant zit, but you also don’t have a freaking nose!!! That’s not normal, people!
Make up. Oh, sweet Mary and Joseph, let’s talk about make up. If you have a phone app that puts make up on your selfies, for the love of all things holy, please delete it. Right now. Go ahead. I’ll sit here and wait. If you don’t care enough to put a coat of paint on the barn, then don’t digitally do it in the pictures. And whatever you do, don’t add it to the other people in the photo. Unless you just ran a color run, chances are there will not be any bright pink color on your face after a marathon. Seriously, you just puked on the concrete in front of God and everybody. Don’t be trying to fool your Facebook friends into thinking you look refreshed and pink lipped after you just ran farther in one day than I’ve ever run every single day in my entire life combined. And if you wear glasses, um, if you put eyeliner on digitally, it will be ON TOP of your glasses. We can see that. We know it’s fake. Stop it.
I guess what I want to say is embrace yourself. Be who you are. Be proud. But if you decide you don’t really like your looks but want to continue to take photos of yourself anyway and filter them before posting them on Facebook, don’t get pissy with me when I see you in public and have NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE because you don’t have Clorox white teeth and floating orbs of radiant light floating about your head.

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