Well, recently a friend posted a picture of the two of us. It was clear to me that she edited the picture. My skin looked amazing! My eyes looked greener, and I looked a lot younger. I got a lot of compliments on my picture and that bothered me.
I think I look great for my age (mid-40s), but the picture is not what I look like now. It's more a reflection of what I looked like 5-10 years ago. It's silly, but I feel like participating in this sort of thing contributes to women having unrealistic beauty standards. I don't want anyone to think I am ashamed of aging or that I am trying to present a fake image.
I want to ask her to delete the picture, but then I will have to explain why. I know she will not like my reasons. Am I being ridiculous?
Fakebooked: “Ridiculous” is a tough word, and I don’t disagree with your larger arguments, and stating them would be fine. And there seems to be no end to good reasons to opt out of social media entirely.
But I do think this immediate issue, the one photo, is best dealt with by starving it of attention.
Actually, I do have a quibble with one of your larger arguments: You ask, “what is the point” when people will see you in real life — but I think our brains process photos and real people differently. If there's an enormous gap between photo and reality, then people might register that with a “Hmm,” but generally I believe in-person impressions hit a more forgiving part of our brains than photos do — much mental airbrushing — so there's no great undoing of an impression previously drawn from a photograph.
So, forgo aggressive filters, yes, I agree. But when someone uses them for us? We, male and female, might as well look fraudulently awesome where we can. For what it's worth.
· I think “Fakebooked” is more than justified in asking the person who edited the pic not to do that in the future. She can be breezy about it — “Hey, looks like you put a filter on my pic — no worries this time, but can you not do that next time? It’s not really my thing.” If a conversation ensues, it can be kept respectful, but the writer does have the right to their own image.
· Years ago, when there was a thing going around to post your celebrity doppelganger as your profile picture on Facebook, I did so. A few months later, my mom mentioned what a great picture that was of me! Either a compliment, or upsetting that my own mother didn’t recognize me, take your pick. I laughed and told her it wasn’t me, that it was this celebrity. She thought for a few minutes and then said, “Well, it was a really nice picture.” Still makes me smile.