Tag Archives: FaceBook

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.

You’re Doing It Wrong

In the wake of the Zimmerman trial, I have seen articles from respected news forums about teens being slaughtered for having a Free Zimmerman bumper sticker on their car and a Hispanic man being beaten “for Trayvon.” These reports have been further investigated and have been exposed as false. But I saw the article on Facebook. One of my college educated friends shared it. It must be true, right? The sky is falling and many are blaming mainstream media sensationalism.

Can you blame them? I like to get my news from E!, personally, but you can’t walk into a coffee shop or waiting room without pretty, polished talking heads discussing the latest trial. They have countdown tickers at the bottom of the screen with the hours until the verdict is anticipated. They have forums to argue what the defendant should have worn to court. They profile the attorneys. They analyze juror reactions. They interview neighbors, old girlfriends, cousins-once-removed and fifth-grade teachers. And none of this stops when the verdict is reached.

I argue that it is not the mainstream media that perpetuates a legacy of stupidity, but it is social media that creates a frenzy of ignorance. Let us first agree that people who take the law into their own hands and perpetuate violence in the name of justice are ignorant people. Sure, they may be passionate. They may even be dynamic. But the bottom line is; they are ignorant. I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of these ignorant folks didn’t spend the bulk of their week watching continual trial coverage on HLN. Instead they saw a “news article” that one of their buddies shared on Facebook or a retweet of their favorite reality star’s “official” Twitter account.

 It is so easy for us to hit Like or Retweet or Share anything and everything. With the slightest touch of a finger, we perpetuate false information. We copy and paste quotes from articles via The Onion like they came from CNN. And even more scary is that this same internet is being used by college interns to sort the facts from the fiction before head writers and producers plant the information in front of the anchor or into the field reporter’s ear.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of social media. My addiction to Twitter, Facebook and now Snap Chat is only rivaled by my dependence on diet sodas mid-morning and white wine at bedtime. The thing is, I earned a college degree back in the stone ages when you had to actually go to a library and open a book. There was no internet. If you googled someone back then, you’d probably get slapped in the face. But even then, a cursory glance around the fraternity social would make it painfully obvious that the world is peopled with idiots. The only difference was, if we wanted to create mass hysteria, we had to get out a phone book and call all of our friends individually and hope to God we didn’t get a busy signal. It took days to plan what we would do on a Friday night and where the hell we’d meet. Heaven forbid you get the time wrong. You’d never figure out where everybody was!

Now don’t get all riled up and think I’m being mean to the younger generations. As hard as I had it in college, at least I didn’t have to walk to school in the snow, up hill both ways like my parents did. I could go on and on about how today’s college kids are more active and proactive in the direction of their own lives, our country and our world; due in large part to social media. (For instance, did you know that young Libyans organized their revolt and eventual eradication of Gaddafi via Twitter? It’s true. Google it.) It’s not just my younger counterparts who are oozing virtual oafishness. Out of my 900+ Facebook friends, it’s hard to find more than a handful of thoughtful, intelligent posts on any given day, and this likelihood decreases exponentially during football season. Sometimes, it is the older generation that leads the charge toward mindlessness. It’s called Snopes, Grandma. And if you don’t know how to use Photoshop, then you probably shouldn’t share a bunch of really unbelievable pictures that you saw on Facebook.

If Betty Sue came to your house and told you that your mother had lost her leg in a freak price check incident at the Piggly Wiggly, you’d probably pick up the phone and call your mama to make sure she was okay. But if Betty Sure posted an article on FaceBook about mutant monkeys holding twelve hostage at a Wal-Mart in Tuscaloosa, fourteen people would share it coupled with their non-spell-checked commentary on the state of our world due to Obama (if you’re South of Atlanta) or Paula Deen (if you’re North of West Virginia). Is it really too much to ask that we think for 3.4 seconds before we click Like, Share or Retweet? Far be it from me to tell anyone how to live, but if you give more thought to what you want on your pizza than you do the articles, images and statements that you are exhibiting to the world as a representation of the person that you are; then you are doing it wrong.