Aussie reality TV star Abbie Chatfield has weighed in on TikTok’s latest controversy, by creating a video using the viral “Bold Glamour” beauty filter. This particular filter, which has been used over 10.3 million times since being launched earlier this week, has been the centre of heated debate.
When used, the filter appears to plaster heavy makeup onto the user’s features, as well as smoothing out any skin imperfections. With such advanced technology, even if a user waves their hands in front of the camera, the filter stays intact.
Body-positive influencer Joanna Kenny issued a warning to followers earlier this week about using “Bold Glamour”, saying that she felt “ugly” when she compared herself with and without the filter.
Former Bachelor contestant Abbie has also called the filter out for being “toxic” with many of her fans agreeing.
In the star’s TikTok, which has been viewed over 192,000 times, she posed for the camera with the filter altering her look, before it disappeared and was replaced with an unedited shot.
“If I wasn’t a full grown adult this would rot my brain tbh,” her text read on top of the video.
The radio host also addressed the viral filter in her caption, saying that it was “funny”, but ‘also so toxic’. Her comment section was flooded with people who pointed out that they preferred her without the filter, but the real ‘harm’ that “Body Glamour” can do comes from how drastically it can change a person’s face.
In fact, multiple fans said they didn’t even ‘recognise’ the star while she had the filter on.
Why ‘beauty filters’ are so dangerous
Danni Rowlands, Head of Prevention at The Butterfly Foundation, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that provides support, treatment and resources for people struggling with eating disorders and body image issues, tells Yahoo Lifestyle just how damaging beauty filters can be.
“Beauty filters can cause people to compare themselves to unrealistic images of ‘perfection’, with blemishes smoothed, certain features enhanced, wrinkles removed and faces and features slimmed down. When someone’s real-time appearance does not match what they are seeing online, this can contribute to feelings of appearance and body dissatisfaction,” she explains.
For some, this could be the reason they take up “harmful or risky behaviours” as they try to replicate these “beauty ideals” in a number of ways such as “taking, cosmetic surgery or procedures or engaging in behaviours with eating and exercise that can increase risk of disordered eating.”
The Butterfly Foundation believes it’s important to flip the script and changes how we view beauty.
“These filters also present a narrow ideal of beauty and suggest that the perfect body or face exists, while also enforcing the believe that your appearance or body is what makes you worthy. It’s important that we combat this rhetoric and encourage people to see themselves as a whole being, rather than just their appearance and body size, weight [or] shape,” she adds.
Are social media apps doing enough to protect children?
While TikTok has just recently announced a one-hour time limit for users under 18 years of age, this doesn’t scratch the surface of the ‘damage’ that social media apps can do for people experiencing “body dissatisfaction”.
“Recent research by Griffith University has highlighted watching just seven minutes of ‘beauty content’ in one session on social media is enough for young people to experience significant shame and anxiety about their appearance,” Danni explains.
Dr Zali Yager, Co-CEO of The Embrace Collective, which helps to promote well-being for all with a focus on body image, believes that the one-hour TikTok time limit isn’t enough to help protect young people from harm.
“Kids always find a way to get around time limits. I think the only option is to actually just remove filters…and we need to stop using them. Because the problem is, even when the influencers are calling these things out, they’re still contributing to the number of people who have used that filter and still kind of promoting the filter, in an inadvertent way,” she tells us.
However, she is still glad that there is conversation surrounding the use of these ‘airbrushed’ images, and hopes that younger children are getting the message that the ‘perfect ideal isn’t real’ earlier than they used to.
The Butterfly Foundation notes that they are working closely with TikTok and Instagram to try and tackle these issues head-on.
“When [Australians] search for a hashtag [on TikTok or Instagram] related to eating disorders, they are prompted to access the Butterfly Foundation’s Helpline or website where they can find help, support and information about treatment options,” Danni says.
Some tips to improve body image
The number one tip from both The Butterfly Foundation and Dr Zali Yager is to simply be kind to yourself and your body.
Avoid talking negatively about your own, and other people's bodies.
Move your body for enjoyment rather than punishment.
Fill your social media feed with more diverse bodies, representations of beauty, and other types of content such as travel and animals.
Spend less time editing and filtering your own images and stay savvy when using social media.
For confidential support about eating disorders and body image issues you can free call the Butterfly Foundation National Hotline on 1800 33 4673.
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