Photoshop & Selfies

Hey, millennials, let's collectively throw away everything we’ve ever heard and seen in the media. Oh, wait, we were raised on it.

Social media is in our bloodstream, privacy is out the window, our expectations just reached Mount Everest and suddenly none of us are as good as the figure on the front of a magazine.


Yep, I said it. That ugly word we somehow both adore and talk bad about behind its back.

We love feeling and looking great, but we hate perfection becoming the standard and normal equaling excellence.

Women see paper-thin bodies, long Rapunzel hair and a tan mistaken for a beachfront glow. Men see a cut body, a defined face and women on both arms. To be honest, it’s all way too unrealistic. Yet it’s our new minimum American Dream standard.

Photoshop is a slap-on guarantee for any magazine cover in America; an industry would not dare post something real, authentic and original. No that’s just too easy and too boring. Life needs fairy tales and falsehoods to promote unarresting happiness.

According to a poll created by Glamour magazine, “Nearly 60 percent feel it’s OK for a woman to tweak her personal pictures.” Tweaking may need a solid definition in this case because some of the “tweaking” I’ve seen has turned lions into kittens and Fords into Audis.

This cultural conversation is getting more vocal as many are witnessing these changes from their phones.

There are over 70 iPhone apps that are used to edit and manipulate photos before you ever press send. The ability to recreate yourself is in the palm of your hand. Scary thought.

Editing of images used to only claim darkrooms, and now it’s in every room, on every phone, on every social media site. Originality has lost its cool.

What is this unearthed need we hold back, this desire to be seen and loved? The amount of time we put into our appearance is adding up and equaling a sickening word: narcissism.

Nar·cis·sism: noun: The state or stage of development in psychoanalytic theory in which there is considerable erotic interest in one's own body and ego and which in abnormal forms persists through fixation or reappears through regression. This definition comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary and also recommends synonyms such as egocentricity, self-interest, self-centeredness and self-absorption.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I might have considered deleting all my photos off Facebook. Why? Because the intention is there. I want to show people about me, why I’m succeeding and why they aren’t like me. Maybe without us even realizing it, it’s the undertone of many of our posts.

We edit, tweak and post to get attention we think we can’t get otherwise. Photoshop becomes more or less a barrier of reality. We use it as a safe haven — a cushion to protect the real us — while paradoxically we are screaming the “real” us at everyone whenever we click send.

Somehow we reached this far in the conversation and still haven't discussed that tragic s-word. The selfie. Narcissism goes by a new name as it seeps into the mindset of many millennials and even the next generation as self-indulgence has a new cover. The overexposure of your face does not make me like you more. It makes me think that you think highly of yourself. Of course, every coin is two-sided. I write this article while I could recall 20 pictures of mine that would make the cut.

Enough with the pretend. Say goodbye to the counterfeit. Let’s stop pretending to be people we aren’t and stop pretending other people care. We were made to do so much more than gaze into our own reflection.