On November 17th, Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart told her fans and Instagram followers that we are all “better than” the photoshop and face-tuning apps that some of us use to alter our appearances before posting a photo to social media. Reinhart had come across an ad for one such photoshopping app while swiping through the Apple App Store and addressed the phenomenon of feeling like we need to blur, shape, and pinch our bodies before posting to Instagram.
“This is why people develop eating disorders," Reinhart wrote in her November 17th Instagram Story after showing a screenshot of the app that caused her to speak out. "This is why social media has become hazardous to our health. This is why people have unrealistic expectations of their body."
She then asked her followers to refrain from using these apps. “If you photoshop your body, you are adding to this problem.”
Reinhart, who has previously stated that she refuses to post edited photos of herself on social media, believes that these kinds of apps and similar filters have caused many people to turn to plastic surgery to bring their altered social media selves into reality. Many times, these filters give us false hope that unattainable goals can actually be (or should be) achieved.
"We are better than this,” she continued. “Looking ‘skinnier’ in a photo on Instagram is not worth the detrimental psychological effects that these photoshopping apps have given our generation.”
Reinhart also said that our bodies are not “one size fits all.” She continued, “My heart goes out to those people who feel like their bodies aren’t good enough.”
Even liking photos that are edited and retouched is adding fuel to the fire, Reinhart said, and her fears about these photoshopping apps are warranted. The American Medical Association (AMA) has publicly condemned the use of these apps to create unrealistic body images, with one AMA board member, Barbara McAneny, M.D., stating in 2011, “We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."
Furthermore, two 2016 studies—one from Chapman University and another from Flinders University in Australia—found that the majority of women who looked at images of “slender white women modeling bikinis” were “somewhat dissatisfied to neutral” when thinking about their body image, despite captions disclaiming that the image was photoshopped.
In fact, as the Flinders University researchers reported, those disclaimers actually resulted in women looking longer at the specific photoshopped area of the image, “which resulted in increased body dissatisfaction.”
“Please don’t encourage this behavior,” Reinhart continued in her Story. “People who use these apps and alter their bodies are clearly suffering from low self esteem, body dysmorphia, or other mental health problems.”
She wrote, “If we applaud and praise the men and women who photoshop the shit out of themselves, it’s only encouraging them to continue. And to feel like the only way they will be accepted is if they keep altering themselves.”
Reinhart concluded her call to action by telling her followers that once they "alleviate [themselves] of the pressure to conform to FAKE/UNREAL standards...the world is a lot brighter.”
And she couldn’t be more correct. Using heavy filters and body-tuning apps will not improve the way you see yourself (and others) in the long term — but positivity and support will. Make a point to leave uplifting, kind comments on unedited photos. Follow Instagram accounts focused on body-confidence and self-love, and engage with influencers who make a point to discuss things like no-makeup Mondays and the beauty of unedited selfies and bikini pics. By reframing your own social media presence, you’ll be taking a stand against the use of photoshopping and body-tuning apps, and supporting those who show their true, authentic selves.
Love yourself, and love others. Like Reinhart said, we’re not a “one size fits all” society, and thank goodness for that.