Filter; “To filter is defined as to remove impurities or unwanted material”.http://www.yourdictionary.com
It’s becoming more and more common that the pictures you view online are filtered. The expectations to look flawless at any age, from tween to adult, has become the norm. I randomly selected a photo I found online of an individual that compared “natural self” to “filtered self” and I posted it on this blog so you have a visual (not that we don’t see enough of this daily on social media). As a caveat, I think she is more beautiful in the first picture, that just my opinion. Filters are causing a lot of grief (mental health) to a lot of people from adults dating to kids comparing. I know it is one of the main reasons I don’t do dating apps anymore. I have first hand experienced meeting someone online and then meeting them in person and they look nothing like they did in their filtered online picture. Imagine my disappointment after lengthy conversations of getting to know someone and then find out that isn’t really them. Yes, there is more to a person than looks, but it’s the lie of who they portrayed to be that I can’t return from. So I thought it was important to discuss in detail my thoughts surrounding this issue.
I didn’t want to use the actual definition of Filtered Photo, I wanted to dissect it down further than that. Hmmm using my Forensic Mind.. imagine that!! So, after I found the photo online, I then found this definition of “Filter” on the internet and I just had to share what I found, you will see the definition at the top of this blog. I thought it was interesting because in the definition it says, Filter: “to remove impurities or unwanted material”. Let’s dissect that phrase… “remove impurities”. Let’s define impurities: Impurities are substances that are present in small quantities in another substance and make it dirty or of an unacceptable quality (collinsdictionary.com). Hmm. Ok so let’s now look at the second part of that phrase….”or unwanted material”. Let’s define unwanted materials: Unwanted Materials are items unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted, (freedictionary.com). So.. Let me get this straight, by my new dissected, forensic side, definition here is what I have….
A Filter is something that removes something dirty or of unacceptable quality that is rejected as worthless or unwanted.
I am literally just in AWE right now. In fact it took me about 30 seconds to type after typing that. My question then is this… Do YOU think that of yourself? Do YOU use filters because YOU feel dirty, unacceptable in quality, rejected as worthless, or unwanted with the way you look without the filter?
Go look in the mirror. Right now… Anyone reading this. Go look in the mirror and ask that question! Did you do it? I did. I do not see those things in myself. I do not believe those things of myself either. I am not dirty, unacceptable in quality, rejected as worthless, or unwanted. PERIOD. I am not ashamed of who I am or what I look like so why then….? Why are we using filters every single time we post a selfie or other picture of ourselves? What could possibly be so wrong with how you look naturally that you have to hide the real you?
I am now going to probably hit a very soft spot, so be prepared. This has got me completely unhinged, but here I go….. Why are you posting pictures of your children and babies with filters as well? Do you think that definition of your children? I bet you don’t and yet… time and again… I see filtered kids as well as newborn babies. It literally breaks my heart. I am not talking about the dumb dog filter, the butterflies on the face, or the nerdy intellect glasses that some of you all put on your kids. They are ridiculous, but your choice. I am talking about basic flawless filters you are putting on your children! Why? Now that I have dissected this definition I want to know why? Here is where I am at with all of this. Kak’s Mental Health Moment at it’s peak! Read on!
We have a mental health crisis on our hands. Children are dying because of their mental health and honestly, we all play a part in this. Nobody is exempt. Social media and the ideals these kids think they need to live up to is sick and alarming. Filters are on everyone and these kids compare themselves to those filtered individuals and even to their own filtered self! When they don’t measure up to that fictionalized image in real life can you imagine what that does to their self-esteem, self-image, self-worth, and mental health? It destroys it. Read that again!!! IT DESTROYS IT! I have seen it so many times. I work with kids, teens, adults… I live and work in mental health. I do Psychological Autopsies and I have seen what you can’t imagine seeing, the worst case scenario ~ Death by suicide. Young kids! I have seen as young as 12 year olds dying because they don’t feel like they measure up to everything they see. Take a minute… try to comprehend this. It is ok if you can’t, but you can change you and we can change this. You can help.
Kids emulate adults. This is a fact. They look up to us and they copy what we do. What example are you setting? You can help your kids feel better about themselves by teaching them health and wellness. There are other ways to look and feel better about your own self. Eat healthy, exercise, lift weights, try new face products, teeth whiteners, buy a new outfit…. Hell, have surgery or get botox, at least it is something real (Yes.. I am guilty of botox), but please stop altering your beautiful natural self and your kids with filters. People WILL see you in real life and not even recognize you … is that what you want? To be looked at and known for using filters? Don’t you want people to love you for who you are and what you really look like? I do and I too have been guilty of using a filter before. Now, I just find the best lighting and makeup and call it good. It’s ok that I have wrinkles here and there. It’s ok if I have a blemish sometimes. I am human, it happens. I am on zoom everyday with my students and I love that what I see and what they see is real. No filters… just good conversations and happy kids.
Please help do your part to “Get Real” and…