Monday, January 22, 2018

My Sunday Best #20: 3 Reasons Why I Won't Use A Beauty Filter

I have been thinking a lot lately about beauty. At 41 years and after 21 years of marriage, I am finally comfortable in my physical appearance, including my big nose, frizzy hair, wrinkled and flabby skin. I want to model health and beauty to my children. It starts with loving and accepting my imperfections, and by being kind to myself as I work towards improving the areas that can use a little help. Maintaining a workout routine and following a healthy diet help me to feel healthy and happy. Wearing moisturizer and a little makeup makes me feel feminine and presentable.

My goal isn't to fight my age, but instead, I want to age well. I am thankful for my 41 years of life, and I would love to live another 41 at least. Exercise, diet, and a daily beauty routine are habits that complement me. They don't alter me. I enjoy trying new activities, reading about diet trends and medical advice, and sampling new creams and oils that hit the beauty counters. Although, I must admit that my makeup routine has been the same for years. It has changed very little from this post that I wrote almost four years ago. 

One new trend that I am skeptical about is beauty filters for pictures. For some people, they are a way to have fun and laugh with friends. But what about the person who only shares filtered photos, who dislikes every picture of herself that hasn't been adjusted by the filter? Does what she sees every time she looks in the filter free mirror make her unhappy? 

For me, using a filter that slims my face, blurs my wrinkles and scars, and makes my eyes larger is a sham. The image becomes an inaccurate representation. A fake. There are three reasons why I will not use a beauty filter to alter my photos.

Authenticity is important to me. Growing up, having people call my grandmother a saint was hard for me to hear because of how verbally abusive she was to my grandfather and me. I always felt like there were two of her, the woman that the neighbors all loved and the angry woman that was raising me. There is only one of me, and I want to be recognizable to everyone; my family, friends, acquaintances, and myself. I am real. I am honest. Altering my features in a picture, and then posting it to my social media accounts feels dishonest to me. If we pass each other on the street, I want you to know me when you see me.

My imperfections and features tell my story, the good and the bad. Laugh lines, frown lines, scars, and sun spots hint to the experiences that I have lived. Painful acne as a teen, smiling and laughing with family and friends,  nights spent worrying about a sick child or an angry teen, long days outside swimming, running, hiking and playing. I inherited my eye shape, nose size, and bone structure from my parents and grandparents. When comparing my untouched photos with the pictures if my ancestors, our shared features are noticeable, but those similarities start to vanish when contrasted to an image that was altered by a beauty filter.

I want my daughter to appreciate her physical features and to enjoy being photographed. I want her to be confident whether it is with a naked face, or wearing a little or a lot of make-up, or even occasionally with exaggerated features and a digital flower crown. But I don't want her to become a slave to make-up or filters, or to believe that they are necessary to make her beautiful and worthy of love. I don't want her to stare at herself in a mirror and think that what she sees isn't good enough. Then need to buffer the feeling of inadequacy by taking a selfie and using a beauty filter to change her features until she looks like a barely recognizable, plastic version of herself. That would break my heart. I will not model that behavior to her.

For the sake of comparison, I made a side by side collage of a picture of me from April 2017. The left side is unfiltered. On the right side, I used my smartphone filter to smooth my wrinkles, slim and brighten my face, and enlarge my eyes. I only altered those features between a three and a six on the sliding scale (it goes up to ten). I am sure that I didn't need to tell you which side was the altered photo as it is very noticeable. The right side creeps me out, honestly. I showed it to Chris and asked him which one he preferred, and he responded with "The real one." Smart man!

It is not my intention to be controversial. Using a beauty filter is a personal decision. I have decided beauty filters are not for me. What is your opinion of them? Do you prefer to use them? Or are you creeped out when you see an altered version of yourself? 

It is Sunday (at least it was when I started typing), so I asked Thomas to take a picture of me so that I can join Rosie and the ladies for My Sunday Best. This photo is very raw and real with its poor lighting and the extra eight pounds that I gained over the holidays!

Have a wonderful week! Please visit Rosie and the gang for more My Sunday Best posts!
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