Why I refuse to Airbrush

Is airbrushing okay in 2018?

This is a debate I see time and time again and as a Youtuber, blogger and Instagrammer, I’ve often wondered myself whether or not it’s acceptable to ‘airbush’ photos and videos – and I admit I’ve been tempted. I really started to give it some thought the other day when I was editing a vlog and had been watching a popular Youtuber; I had noticed something about her skin in the video and then when others moved in shot I could see what looked like a filter being applied. Call me naive but I’d never really heard of this before! Then I saw someone talk about ‘Wayne Goss’ and after some further video watching, my eyes were opened.

In a way I felt cheated because I had thought what I’d seen had been a ‘natural’, makeup-less face and also annoyed at myself for not being aware of this type of editing. I’m well aware of the editing that you see on Instagram but I had thought it was much much harder to hide on Youtube.

Are we contradicting ourselves?

For me this created a contradiction. As women we are constantly praising magazines for using ‘real’ women on their covers and designers on their catwalks (I might add here that I believe naturally skinny women are also ‘real’ and shouldn’t be body shamed either), however, when it comes to applying those rules to ourselves, as content creators we often fall down. Sometimes it’s about getting a good angle which is fine but for others it’s photoshopping and Facetuning beyond recognition.

I posed this to someone I know and they gave an interesting response – well everyone is doing it so you won’t be able to compete if you don’t either. I’m not totally sure I believe that – I’d like to hope that those of reading don’t follow me for ‘flawless’ skin and super thin legs, I mean I’d love those things but it’s not really me and if we actually met in person then I’d hate for you to think worse of me for it. I guess I hope that you follow me for my sense of style and beauty/fitness advice, right?

What is deeply saddening, however, is the fact that people even feel this competitiveness or pressure to conform in the first place and the effect that that might have on young people following our accounts. Cellulite DOES exist, I’ve even noticed it on myself recently and felt ashamed and turned to Facetune – the first and hopefully last time. I ended up taking down the picture because I felt it was wrong. What I feel like doing instead is researching the best ways to combat it and writing about that!

Self-esteem and mental health aside, there are other worrying concerns within our industry that we need to factor in. When it comes to beauty especially, if you are being paid to promote a product and are showing the effect of that product in a video or through a blog post – and you use a filter or photoshop, you are lying to consumers about the effect it has on your skin.

No, your skin is not ‘glowing’ because x product made it that way, you have tweaked the image/video to make it look like that. In my opinion this is dishonest and potentially breaks advertising rules. How far do you take it though? Disclaiming extensions for hair care reviews? Absolutely! Cheryl Cole and L’Oreal had to. 

We’re never going to live in a world without filters or photoshop – and I truly have no problem with these as I use them myself to edit my photos but I don’t use them to alter my appearance. Remember what you see on Instagram and Youtube isn’t always the real deal and make sure to do plenty of research before purchasing products – not just because a Youtuber has said they’re good (GUILTY!) and feel good about yourself because you should always know that you are enough!

"We are never going to live in a world without filters"

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    • arabellawright
      July 16, 2018 / 3:50 pm

      Thanks Alexandra! It took me hours to learn it X

  1. Lorna
    July 16, 2018 / 12:10 am

    I’ve used some of the fun Instagram filters for the IG stories, but I had no idea you could do that in YouTube videos! Didn’t even know it existed! Hopefully more people will be comfortable with how they feel and will not want to use them. Judgment and abuse is a cruel thing. You look lovely by the way!

    Raindrops of Sapphire

    • arabellawright
      July 16, 2018 / 3:51 pm

      Absolutely I hope that we all become more confident to not use them. My biggest issue really was when it’s a sponsored post or promoting a beauty product – that’s where the morality issues really come in x

  2. Outlandish Blog
    July 17, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Wow, this was a weird comment to your inquiery: “well everyone is doing it so you won’t be able to compete if you don’t either”. I don’t believe that to be true at all. There will always be a “market” for fake people but real-life stories by “normal” people are much more influential… At least I hope so 😀

    • arabellawright
      July 17, 2018 / 1:18 pm

      I definitely understand the sentiment i.e. the top instagrammers are beautiful and airbushed to perfection (even if it looks like they’re not) that in order to grow like that you need to ‘fit in’ and looking normal just isn’t what people aspire to. But then absolutely I agree that normal people are more influential and that’s why streetstyle is so popular (and vlogging). I guess it depends what you want your aesthetic to be, each to their own haha

    • arabellawright
      July 17, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      Thanks so much Josipa! x

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