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  • Writer's pictureKrista Frahm

For the Sake of Women Everywhere– Stop Posting with Beauty Filters

Back of phone and girl's hand is the focus of the picture as she takes a selfie.
It's tempting to modify or filter the selfies we take.

Let’s be honest. We all love to see ourselves with that beauty filter effect in pictures.

Our skin spots fade...

the wrinkles disappear…

magically there are no longer bags under our eyes.

We look young. We look beautiful.

But we also look fake. We are not being true to ourselves and honest about our journey in life.

Stop posting filtered pictures that make you look 13. You’re a woman, not a girl.

It’s not good for your mental health, and it’s not good for the mental health of girls either.

The only good thing that comes from those filtered, perfected images is a short lived dopamine boost. We can almost start to believe that’s how others see us. We look at that picture and think, “Wow, I’m sexy! I look amazing! I look better than I did in high school!” We begin to believe the lie and the trap is set.

young woman with downcast eyes and hair covering part of her face. Looking sad and dejected.
Comparison can lead to disappointment

Then there’s a hard letdown and possibly even depression the next time you walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of your true self. There’s self-loathing when you see a candid, unfiltered picture of yourself and you look so...average.

The emotional high of the beauty filtered photo turns into a new low of self criticizing and feeling ugly. Is this really something we want to do over and over again?

It’s time for us to step up, be authentic, and stop posting unrealistic filtered photos.

The Comparison Trap of Social Media

Young woman with long blonde hair sitting outside in near dark with face lit up due to looking at phone.

"Comparison is the thief of joy" - Thodore Rosevelt

In 1954, social psychologist Leon Festinger popularized the social-comparison theory. In part, this theory states we are driven to compare ourselves to others. We often compare ourselves to people that we feel inferior to. He calls this type of comparison “upward” comparison. At times it can lead us to improve ourselves, however it often leads to dissatisfaction, desperation, and even depression.

Young mom sitting on floor with work station in front of her a baby on floor next to her.
Our everyday activities should not be compared to someone's highlight reel of life.

There are abundant opportunities to compare ourselves to others with the rise in social networks online. We are no longer comparing ourselves to only the people we interact with in the real world on a daily or weekly basis, we are comparing ourselves to people we don’t even know.

When we compare ourselves to people that we only see online, we are comparing our whole, flawed life to a highlight reel of someone else’s life. Most people won’t post their worst moments or their mistakes on social media. We see our own flaws, bed-head, messy homes and forgotten appointments. We only see their perfect child, tidy work-space, and professional make-up job. I would argue this is extreme upward comparison, and not healthy.

Young woman with long dark hair. Beautiful yet authentic and real looking.
Authentic Beauty. True Beauty

Do you post things to make yourself look better? Of course. We all do. But being honest and genuine is important as well. Posting only manicured pictures feeds into this unrealistic comparison trap. Unfortunately, our kids and all the younger people we know and love are following in our footsteps, learning from our example.

Posting filtered, unrealistic photos of yourself leads others to feel worse about themselves.

It sets a trap for others to compare their real selves to your filtered self.

We are Teaching Young Women That They Are Not Good Enough, Not Pretty Enough

I get why won’t we post our pictures without a filter, without adjusting the angle 50 times, or without our sunglasses on.

It’s because we’re insecure. I feel it too. I’m not 16 and running cross country anymore. My body has changed, my skin has changed. Everything has changed.

Two women with bright clothing, heads leaned towards each other, half smiles. Natural beauty instead of fake.
Embrace your age and stage in life, don't hide it

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful.

By obsessing over what we look like in our pictures or adding filters to skew what we look like, we are telling ourselves and all other women that flaws are not acceptable. We are teaching young women that they are not beautiful unless they are modified.

Nobody actually wants to tell their daughter or any girl that she’s not pretty enough or not good enough. When we stop and think about it, we would never tell another woman that she’s not good enough. We would REALLY never tell a young girl that she’s not good enough just as she is.

Unfortunately, the underlying message we are sending with filtered photos is just that. Women are not beautiful unless they are manicured, filtered, perfect, flawless.

We can’t send that message.

Perfect Images Feed the Lie that Natural Beauty Isn’t Beautiful

Three little girls holding hands exploring waves. Picture is from behind them as they approach the waves.
Childhood Adventures

Remember when you were little, you didn’t like to brush your hair and you wore whatever clothes were easiest to grab? I preferred to combine stripes and polka-dots. I know my hair was short sometimes because it was unruly (it still is hard to manage). On hot days we would just wear our bathing suits all day. We didn’t think twice about it.

Maybe you spent a ton of time outside during your childhood too. Running through the woods, playing in the sprinklers, riding bikes or climbing trees. Your hair was probably a tangled mess, your hands were dirty, your knees were scraped up– but you were happy.

Carefree, joyful, beautiful.

Somewhere along the line we are taught that this natural, wild beauty we possess isn’t beautiful. We perfect our hair then try to protect it from the elements. We put on makeup and then worry about it running. We wear clothing that is completely non-functional for adventures...but it flatters us so we keep wearing it. We stop playing games and having adventures because we don’t want to mess up our perfected look.

Teach girls to love themselves, no filter needed.

We need to fight back. We need to teach young women that natural beauty is true beauty.

We need to help girls maintain their carefree, happy childhoods as long as possible.

How we behave as women can shape the mindset and self images of every girl and woman we cross paths with. We need to lift other women up, and celebrate their true beauty. If we want girls to grow up confident, self-assured, and happy, then we need to demonstrate self-acceptance.

We need to accept ourselves when we have no makeup on, crazy hair, and sweatpants. Go hiking and camping without trying to get a perfect selfie for social media. Post that photo of you and your baby– even if the house is a mess behind you and you’re sporting a messy bun.

We need to stop posting filtered, unrealistic images and pretending that they’re real.

We need to show other women that natural beauty is acceptable. Teach others that it’s ok to show the whole range of how we appear. Dressed up for a date as well as beach day exhausted.

Women have been fighting the beauty industry to showcase REAL women’s bodies.

Why would we sabotage all that work by ourselves posting unrealistic photos?

Generations of women have been fighting against unrealistic body images and the over-sexualization of women. Seeing perfected, unrealistic photos of women is correlated to body-image problems, unhealthy expectations, depression, and anxiety.

Old fashioned photo of women all dressed alike, sitting on a ledge and crossing their legs the same direction.

Sometimes we like to look at beautiful photos and aspire to look like the models in the magazine, but at what cost?

Seeing unrealistic bodies and airbrushed images creates an unattainable goal in our minds. We want to look like the girl on the magazine cover. The problem is, she doesn't even look like the picture we are seeing, it’s fake.

two women running in a race. Mud splattered on them. Both are smiling.
Strong is beautiful

Many magazines and companies have shifted their focus to more realistic and more diverse photos of women. Beauty campaigns such as the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty have embraced the idea of celebrating women of ALL shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. Title Nine showcases real moms in their ads. They highlight their sense of adventure, strength, and natural beauty.

There is a fight for the mental and physical health of women and girls happening. Women of all ages and cultures struggle with body image issues.

We can’t win this battle but then go on to lose the war for our girls.

Having major publications and brands diversify the beauty they showcase is amazing.

We can’t undermine these efforts by creating our own, unrealistic images that will continue to teach girls and other women that they’re not beautiful unless they’re airbrushed.

The Time is Now– No More Beauty Filters.

Make the Commitment.

Young girls need us to be strong and authentic.

Other women need examples to follow.

We are stronger together than we ever will be alone.

Make the choice to be part of the solution. Teach girls that natural beauty is real beauty. Teach them that they don’t need to add a filter to their photo in order to look beautiful.

It’s good to take care of yourself, stay healthy, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, wear makeup or do your hair. None of these things are inherently bad. But it’s also ok to let people see the natural side of you, the messy hair and bags under the eyes. Be authentic.

Stop posting photos & videos with the beauty filters, puppy filters, or whatever they are.

Be honest with yourself. You don’t actually look like that– and everybody knows it. You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

Your worth and your value do not depend on your appearance. Your value as a human is not connected to the size of your jeans, the length of your eyelashes, or the amount of likes you get on social media. A wrinkle free face does not define you.

You can be part of the solution instead of the problem by posting authentic photos. Teach others that being true to yourself is valuable. Demonstrate that you cherish yourself enough to show up unaltered.


What are your thoughts?

I’d love to hear them or drop by IG @kristafrahmagency



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