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Objects in this picture may be faker than they appear.

Posted Oct 16 2013 9:33am

Alternately titled: Why I am never believing anything I see on Facebook ever again.

“You can’t compare yourself to pictures in magazines,” we’ve told ourselves for years. “They’re airbrushed! No one looks like that in real life!”

But what we see on Facebook/Instagram/whatever, that’s real, right? I mean, it must be, because most people take pictures and upload them to social media sites instantly.

Compare away.

But wait! Studies show (and seriously, who is providing research grants for this preposterous subject?) that Facebook can be bad for your self-esteem . (I could have told you that about 6 seconds after pictures of my recent 15-year high school reunion cropped up.)

The perfect people picking apples to bake into their perfect pies? FAKE. All those pictures of your BFF and your neighbors and the woman you ran into once in the grocery store and she immediately friended you on Facebook? They’re all fake. Thanks to recent technological advances, airbrushing is not something only available to the stars. No, now any random person with an internet connection can remove blemishes and give themselves a thigh gap .

I recently discovered this phenomenon as I was messing around with PicMonkey. I was minding my own business, trying to make a pin-able graphic for a cereal giveaway, and I saw the “Touch Up” options for editing photos. They are as follows:

– Blemish fix
– Airbrush
– Wrinkle remover
– Shine reduce
– Blush boost
– Spray tan
– Teeth whitening
– Lip tint
– Eye brighten
– Eye tint
– Mascara
– Eyeliner
– Eyebrow pencil
– Eye shadow
– Red-eye remover
– Nip Tuck (?!?)
– Weight loss (YES! Finally the magic bullet I’ve been looking for)
– Highlights (why have I been paying big money for them all these years?)

I wanted to try this out for myself, so I chose everyone’s favorite picture of Jenny and me to use as an example.

Here was the starting pallet.

em & jen

Lovely, don’t you think? But we have some shine on our faces, and there are some lines where, you know, our skin is bending. And my eye make up is terrible.

So let me fix it!

em & jen modified

Much better!

Just so you can see how fake this is, let me give you a side-by-side comparison.

fakey fakers

I am making light of this, but I really think it is a problem. We have so much access into the lives of other people, and we can’t help but try to gauge how we measure up. It’s hard to remember that the bits and pieces that we see of people – in photos or status updates or tweets or whatever – aren’t the whole picture.

Many of them are about as real as this.

crazy faces2

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to alter my jawline in all my FB pics.

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