Ninety per cent of young women reported that they use a filter or edit their photos before posting it online, according to a new study. The findings indicate that young women feel under constant scrutiny, and this anxiety and distress has been amplified during the Covid-19 pandemic. They use filter or edit to even out their skin tone, reshape their jaw or nose, shave off weight, brighten or bronze their skin, and their whiten teeth, the study indicated.
"With nearly 100 million photos posted every single day on Instagram alone, we have never been such a visually dominated society," Rosalind Gill from City, University of London, said in a statement.
"Posting on social media can produce the intense pleasure of 'getting likes' and appreciative attention, but it is also a source of huge anxiety for most young women," Gill added.
For the study, the research team involved nearly 200 young women and nonbinary people in the UK. The research documents young people's persistent anger with a mass media that they deem "too white", "too heterosexual" and too focused on very narrow definitions of beauty.
Young women in the study also described regularly seeing advertisements or push notifications for cosmetic procedures particularly for teeth whitening, lip fillers and surgery to enhance bottom, breasts or nose.
The report raises particular issues about how appearance standards are narrowing and how the affordances of smartphones, together with editing and filtering apps, are contributing towards a society in which young people feel under constant forensic scrutiny by their peers.