Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Damaging to Self-Esteem

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

So THIS is why women use filters, I thought to myself.

It took just 12 minutes of me trying “beautifying” filters for the first time to go from “I’m happy with my real face” to “Ughh why don’t I look like that?”

Before that, the only filters I’d tried were the joke ones – you know, make me Yoda, make me a beardy man, age me by 30 years. And quite recently, the “face pillow” filter on Instagram stories (i.e. what you look like with too many extreme fillers).

 

[Reading time: 7 mins]

 

The face pillow is a joke filter for amusement purposes (I HOPE!), but it’s also kind of scary that with waaaaay too many fillers I could look like that. It’s put me off having any, or at least I’d think about it very, very, VERY carefully before getting any done. But I know the filter is just for laughs, and I do think it’s kinda funny.

But what about the less extreme filters? You know, the ones that just… enhance. Smooth out your skin. Tighten your jawline. Widen your eyes. Plump up your lips. Generally take off 10 years (or 20 or 30).

Now they’re the ones I have a problem with. The reshaping, smoothing, tightening filters turn me right off.

The reason? Because they’re subtle enough to allow us to present our faces as our real, this-is-what-we-look-like faces. Now I know what my ageing, six-months-shy-of-50 face looks like. And the last thing I want to do is kid myself I don’t look how I look, instead, presenting myself as some smooth-skinned, 28 year old [looking] woman.

I also don’t want people to think that I don’t have skin pigmentation, or jowls, or crows feet.

But for research purposes (and to publish here), I took one normal selfie – makeup and hair done, but no filter – and then blitzed my way through Instagram’s filters on stories. I was riding the filters wave like a kid in a sweet shop.

It did NOT take long for me to look at the filtered ones and start thinking “oh that one’s nice”… and forgetting what I actually looked like.

By the time I got back round to looking at the original, I was somewhat horrified. This took a grand total of 12 minutes for me to go from “Yep, I look nice [unfiltered] to, “Oh god I don’t look anywhere near as nice as I thought” when looking at the SAME photo, just 12 minutes apart.

Here’s my real face – zero tweaks – with a pretty standard filtered version right alongside…

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

…Clever, huh? Soft, and smooth, wrinkle-free, and very ‘soft’. All flushed and warm and healthy-looking. Yet it’s genuinely frightening how quickly you get used to it and see that as your real face.

 

The visibility of older women

Being an older woman, I WANT to see other older women in blogs. I WANT to see them on the internet, in traditional media and on social media.

In the early days of my blog, I tried to put this across to other women who were leaving me blog post comments. They loved my blog, but said they didn’t think that anyone wanted to see women their age, so they immediately gave up all notions of starting one themselves. As I put it to them, “You were glad to have found ME, weren’t you? That means there are other women who want to see YOU, too.”

So we’re pleased as punch to see other older women out there, feistily doing their thing, going about their everyday life and posting a few selfies along the way. But if they’re all using filters, isn’t that the same as seeing NO other older women? If they’re presented as having the skin and jawline of a 30 year old, doesn’t it render their (wonderfully) ageing presence obsolete?

I found this quote from psychotherapist and certified life coach Tess Brigham when Googling “women using filters” (which, as a side point, 90% of women admitted to using #ShockedFace):

 

“What’s different about social media is these aren’t just celebrities and supermodels, these are people you know. The feeling of ‘why isn’t that me’ becomes even stronger and more significant.” [source]

 

So if that’s true, that we’re following ‘people we know’ (and by that I mean bloggers, influencers, your work colleague, your best friend and her auntie, etc.), aren’t we following them precisely BECAUSE they’re not celebrities or supermodels? Because they’re regular women and we can relate to them?

My question is this: surely it’s ultimately damaging to self-esteem, both to the person viewing the filtered photo and to the person that posted it? I personally can’t relate to a filtered, smoothed-out, wrinkle-free image of a woman my age any more than I can of an unfiltered image of a 20 year old who still has the flush of youth and beautifully smooth, tight skin.

The difference is, the latter doesn’t unnerve me.

But then again – AM I recognising all of the filtered ones as exactly that, especially if that 90% statistic is to be believed? Which of these (all filtered) selfies could pass as untouched, especially if that’s all I’d ever posted?

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

Look how many of them increase the size of my lips – note that none of the filters were described as specialist lip-enhancing ones, they just did it anyway. Some tighten my jawline and get rid of my jowls. All of them smooth out my skin and eliminate wrinkles. One has narrowed my whole face.

But I’d say the majority of them look pretty “real”, especially if you’d never seen me before.

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

I won’t lie, I look all SORTS of youthful and flushed here. Wow… that’s powerful. I can see the attraction (for want of a better word) in using these filters – and never going back.

Do I wish I looked like that in real life? Of course I bloody do. But I don’t, because I’m not 25 anymore. I’m twice that. There’s no need to kid myself that I look like that any longer than it takes for me to finish writing this post.

 

What I’ve actually had done to my face – and would consider having done

In the same way a dog isn’t meant to have cropped ears or a docked tail, we are meant to have wrinkles as we age.

I LOVE seeing wrinkles. I LOVE crows feet. I may not “love” my jowls, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see them on other older women.

However, this doesn’t mean I’m against surgery or enhancements. Not at all.

If you didn’t know: I’ve been having botox on and off for about eight years or so, mostly just to soothe my 11’s lines (I’ve always been blessed with resting bitch face and a naturally downturned mouth) to prevent me looking sour-faced. Plus a little in the forehead to smooth out a few lines.

I also have this weird habit of raising my right eyebrow when I have my photo taken – I don’t even know I’m doing it – and the rippling waves of lines above said brow were getting really noticeable and almost distracting in photos. So I ask for an extra injection or two into the area above that Roger Moore impersonator.

You only have to look at the close-ups of my face on the blog to see that I don’t have a glassy, smooth forehead – and that’s just my choice. I have no problem with those that DO want an ultra-smooth forehead; it’s just not for me.

I would also definitely consider a facelift. Consider being the keyword. Not right now, and certainly not until I could afford a good one… and that may never happen. But that’s okay.

So my stance on surgery and enhancements is, do what makes you feel good. Do it, don’t it. But only because YOU want to do it, not because someone close to you told you to, or because all your friends/your favourite celebrities are doing it, or because you’ve seen everyone on Instagram with smooth, tight faces and you want that too.

As you can see from my original photo, even with botox, makeup and good lighting, I still don’t look anywhere NEAR as ‘perfect’ as the filtered images.

And if I’m being honest, it’s making my blood boil that those filters have installed a feeling of dissatisfaction with how I look, albeit temporarily.

 

The feeling of dissatisfaction filters created in me

Maybe I’m being hypocritical, but to me, having work done and using filters are two entirely different things. One is what you still see in the mirror, and one isn’t. You have the surgery and/or enhancements and it’s still your face, what you’ll still see in the mirror.

But filters… I’d feel like I’d be kidding myself. I’d be pretending to be something I’m not.

And what would happen when people see me in real life? Or brands want to work with me based on what they’ve seen on my online platforms? Yeah… there’s going to be a BIG disparity. So for me, using filters would be a bit like lying on my CV.

I’ve been running this blog for over 10 years. That means I can look back on what I looked like 10 years ago… and I can clearly see the difference in my face. I may not have noticed it in my everyday life, but I’ve definitely aged. I look 10 years older. And although I’m not completely over the moon about everything associated with ageing(!), I can happily accept it.

But just yesterday, until I started to apply those filters, I was perfectly satisfied with my face. I would look in the mirror, I was happy. A nicely posed, selfie with makeup on (and me trying to look my best)? Yeah, I thought I looked okay for nearly 50. Add a face-smoothing, wrinkle-diminishing filter? Now I’m looking at my original picture and thinking, Oh god

But I’m good – a bit of a pep talk with myself and I KNOW that filters are not my bag, and I won’t be using them. I’m alright.

Filters are the classic slippery slope. The more I looked at filtered photos of myself, the more I liked them. I’LL ADMIT THAT. Coming back to the unfiltered version and all I was doing was thinking that my skin tone was uneven, my lips were thin and my forehead was lined (let’s not even MENTION the jowls). The filters’ job is to point out every single flaw that I have – that I didn’t even know I had.

And my GOD that’s unhealthy.

Nonetheless, the more I look at the beautifying filters (which are, by the way, generally called variations on “young and beautiful” and “smooth skin”, FFS), the more I realise that they look super weird to me. They are definitely creepy (not to be confused with “crepey”, which of course they eradicate). Looking at all my filtered versions in that grid I created, there’s definitely a sense of “me” being lost. It wouldn’t take much for me to change the angle, add a little more eye makeup, do my hair really well, get rid of background distractions, show off some decolletage… and it’d end up looking NOTHING like me.

The thought of then creating that illusion every single time would, for me, be really damaging. Damaging to my self-esteem, damaging to my mental health, damaging to my integrity. I’ve already got a little used to how I look in the filtered versions just in the course of writing this post.

But doing it day in, day out? Looking at that much perfection every time would mean I’d come crashing down on a much more regular basis when others take photos of me, or when I just look in the mirror even WITH hair and makeup done.

No thanks. Not now, not ever.

 

Final thoughts

My experiment really couldn’t have been any briefer or more simple (and to be honest it was an unintentional experiment, I was taking the photos with filters purely to publish in this post to demonstrate what I’m talking about), but its results were very, very telling.

I said I think older women using filters is (can be) damaging. I can imagine it’s even more damaging if you’re younger.

I’m pretty much okay with people who use them occasionally – I can think of a few people I follow on Instagram who use a filter now and then; they’re very clear about it when they’re using one. Personally, I think I’ll just steer clear of them altogether if my experience here is anything to go by.

I had a lot more fun with the joke filters so think I’ll be sticking to those in future:

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging) | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

And here’s the pillow face one if you wanted to see it (though remember you can’t ever UNsee it…!)

Why I Think Older Women Using Filters Is Creepy (and Damaging): The Pillow Face Filter | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Fashion and Style Blog

Ultimately, we need to make sure we’re being honest with ourselves. If filters make you feel ANYTHING like how they made me feel, stop using them straight away. Get used to your real face. Love it, cherish it, do everything you can to make it the best it can be with love and self-care (plus SPF and a good mascara).

The best filter you can have? A smile. And on that cheesy note…

What are your thoughts on filters – do you use them, have you ever used them? Comment below…

 

Stay safe XOXO

Catherine signature

 

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56 Comments

  1. Julie
    23 November 2022 / 4:07 pm

    I do see botox, fillers, or ‘enhancements’ as ‘walking filters’. One is still avoiding looking their age, which is a shame. It distorts the reality of who we are (when we look at others). We really need to see more gorgeous ‘unenhanced’ wrinkled, saggy faces! We need our peers back. I’m not against it if it looks good, which often it doesn’t, but I think ageing faces are in high demand. There is a certain distortion of the female over time these days.

  2. Gem
    10 February 2022 / 7:16 pm

    Thanks for this Catherine. I’ve also never used filters and I can totally see how they could be addictive. I worked with a couple of young women (early 20s) who befriended me on Facebook – I was actually horrified how much they edited their images on Facebook AND how people would comment approvingly on these images that looked nothing like them. They were gorgeous young women anyway, but the lengths they went to in order to distort their digital image disturbed me. I’m 40 so none of this stuff was around when I was growing up and I’m really thankful it wasn’t, I think it’s incredibly damaging.

    • Catherine
      Author
      24 February 2022 / 4:26 pm

      Great to hear your thoughts Gem… it does seem to be a thing amongst younger women to use them without thinking, as if it’s the norm. I’m sure it’s our generation that questions it so much more! I too find it upsetting that they can’t appreciate their youthfulness in all its natural beauty – ageing can’t be helped and isn’t a bad thing AT ALL – but to not even appreciate your own natural face when you’re still so young is such a shame 🙁

  3. Vava
    6 February 2022 / 5:31 pm

    I don’t use filters and I wouldn’t use botox, lip fillers, or consider plastic surgery. Heck, I don’t even use any kind of makeup, either. To each their own, I say. I just want to stay healthy and have fun. It’s as simple as that.

    The pressure society has on women especially is sad. Not only is it this facial filtering stuff, it’s weight, too.

    • Catherine
      Author
      7 February 2022 / 6:03 pm

      I agree that the pressure is awful, Vava… we’ve come a long way in terms of brands that, say, won’t photoshop their models anymore which is great(!), but it’s come at the same time as these filters becoming the norm. One step forward, three steps back 🙁

  4. 20 January 2022 / 1:05 pm

    Perfection doesn’t exist, it’s an illusion. We need to start being positive about who we are and what we are – surely our imperfections make us who we are? Some of our lines and wrinkles tell of a journey, a life story and its ups and downs. This is reality.
    Why are men allowed to age and women not? Double standards are not good for us as women or for society and we need to change this. There’s too much fakery out there,
    We are all beautiful in our own way, Roald Dahl said it brilliantly in the Twits “If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
    A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”. Be positive and shine xo

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 9:43 pm

      Oh I LOVE that Roald Dahl quote, Becky! I can never, ever find a person who has a horrible personality attractive. Like when a celebrity (who I’ve always liked) is interviewed and he turns out to be a =bleep=… it kills me when that happens because they immediately stop being attractive to me.

      I think the perfection that you mention – especially where filters are concerned – is definitely an illusion. It’s the old “too good to be true” scenario…!

  5. 19 January 2022 / 4:42 pm

    As a 49 year old who has not has Botox or any kind of cosmetic procedures, I do think you’re being quite hypocritical. I immediately started comparing my face to your (non filtered) face and thought, OMG she looks so youthful compared to me, she doesn’t need filters at all! Then I scroll down to see you’ve had Botox. This is perpetuating unrealistic expectations about how women of our age should look, just as much as filters,

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 9:19 pm

      I’m afraid I have to respectfully disagree, Connie – I did mention in the post that I may be being hypocritical, but on reflection after re-reading the post I don’t think I am, let me explain why…

      The difference between filters and procedures, for me, is that the former makes me feel BAD about myself, whereas the latter makes me feel GOOD about myself. I don’t feel awful about looking at my face in a mirror when I’ve had botox because I do it to make me look happier and less angry – I’m not doing it to look younger and, therefore, I’m not presenting any sort of unrealistic expectations. Having botox will make you look that way in real life, with filters you will not, therefore one is realistic/achievable and one isn’t.

      It’s also important to remember that even an unfiltered photo isn’t an accurate representation of what someone looks like IRL. I haven’t had botox in nearly a year so what you are seeing here is really a face without botox. Good lighting (as here) does A LOT to obliterate wrinkles and lines – if I went outside into daylight with an overhead lighting source then you’d think quite differently about how “youthful” I look!

      You said that you compared your face with mine, and I’m sad that you did that… comparison really is the thief of joy. You comparing your face with mine is a pointless exercise as you’re comparing a posed (albeit unfiltered, but still well-lit) image on a hand-held device of someone else with what you see in the mirror. That’s not fair to you or to me, but it’s especially unfair to you.

      You also said that me having botox is perpetuating unrealistic expectations about how women of our age should look… I’d like you to think of it this way: how about the fact that I probably wouldn’t have the lines I “remove” with botox if I’d never blasted my face with too much sun over the years (or never frowned or smiled)? Is wearing SPF to prevent wrinkles and using retinoids perpetuating unrealistic expectations? What about wearing makeup or dyeing my hair? I don’t see the difference between having botox to smooth out my worry lines and make me look less angry, and dyeing my hair to hide the greys and give me a more fun hair colour (I’m talking about the rose gold that my hair is when I dye it, not the blonde it goes when it fades and grows out, as seen here). As for makeup… you could say that I’m projecting an unrealistic image of what my skin looks like. I actually have dreadful skin, and have had for many years. But many people see my images and think I have beautiful skin, but I wear makeup to make myself feel better… am I being hypocritical by hiding my bad skin with makeup? Because I chose to share the fact that I have botox to enhance my angry lines yet didn’t highlight the fact that I’m wearing makeup (I did mention it and anyway it’s obvious I’m not barefaced), it’s logical that you should be criticising me more for hiding my bad skin with makeup than having botox. But personally I don’t think anyone should be criticised for anything they choose to do, as long as it’s what THEY want.

      I also don’t think there’s an end to what you can criticise a woman for having done. I know women in their 50s who refuse to have anything done to their face but still dye their hair dark… I don’t think they’re being hypocritical. They’re doing what makes them feel good, and it’s all about choice. I don’t dye my hair, put on makeup or have botox to make myself look 25, I’m doing it to make me feel good about myself as it all makes me feel lighter and brighter and the best I can look at whatever age I am. All those things are good for my mental health. That is NOT what filters do (or, rather, did to me). I wrote about MY experience with filters in this post and why I think they’re damaging to self-esteem; some women use them and are fine with it. If they’re upfront about using filters [for their audience’s sake] and it’s not affecting their own self-esteem then I have no problem with it. But for me, it WAS a problem. I think it’s unfair to single out botox when, for example, dyeing hair that’s greying isn’t “natural”, either.

      So I hope you can understand my reasons for disagreeing with you, and how I’m saddened by you comparing your face to mine. I don’t want you to do that. I want people reading this to realise that everyone has a choice about what they do and don’t do, that what they see online is rarely the same as what they’d see IRL (even without filters), and that they should never, ever compare themselves with anyone else. Doing what YOU want to do and doing what helps YOUR mental health is the most important thing ♡

      • 25 February 2022 / 12:06 pm

        Your writing is so profound. I especially like “ Comparison is the thief of joy.” Phycologist are constantly writing articles about the harmful effects of the filtered instagram selfies on young girls. I’m glad I took the time to read this.

  6. 19 January 2022 / 9:53 am

    I would just like to tell you why I prefer pictures of your real face: I am a Reader and I love reading your blog posts. The more I read, the more I build up this inner picture of the lovely e-person writing here (I do not assume any profound knowledge about the real person, as I think we all have our “public person”) and this “read picture” then always fuses with the “seen pictures”. So most of your filter-enhanced faces are just not the same person to me, not the narrated one I come back to read about. They are also much too bland.
    But I do understand that your experience with them is different, I think I might have a similar reaction. Am not gonna try though 🙂

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 9:57 pm

      Oh Alcessa that’s a lovely comment… thank you! I do know exactly what you mean about building up an inner picture of someone online: I will say that it’s usually pretty accurate. I’ve met many people in rela life after getting to know them online through blogging events and similar, and 9 times out of 10 they are EXACTLY as I pictured them to be!!

  7. 18 January 2022 / 5:02 pm

    Brilliant post, Catherine! And what a wonderful unintentional experiment. I have never used a filter in my entire life. There was one time that a friend of mine was getting all excited about “how great I would look in my photos if I put them through filters” and to prove her point she filtered a photo of me using some face smoothing beautifying anti-aging app or whatever. I was absolutely appalled, disturbed, and disgusted by the whole thing in that moment that I never thought again about filters after that. Good for you for drawing attention to the harms that could result from these practices!

    Shelbee

    • 18 January 2022 / 8:15 pm

      Never used them. The world needs to see what older women look like. There are hardly any filmstars, or even newsreaders in the UK, who don’t have “the look.” Madonna is unrecognisable. To be honest I don’t think you look better with the filters. They give you the bland, smooth look that all the younger Influencers seem to have.

      • Catherine
        Author
        31 January 2022 / 11:36 pm

        I know what you mean about “the look”, Gail, but I do think it’s a choice thing – I reckon Madonna has 100% “designed” her look. Someone who talks about plastic surgery (that I was watching on youtube) described her look as very “otherworldly”, almost alien-like and very deliberate. Tbh, I think it’s fine that she’s done that despite me not personally liking it. It’s her choice.

        But in terms of young girls doing stuff to their faces when they’re already blessed with such beautiful features, that just makes me sad… 🙁

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 11:33 pm

      Oh my goodness Shelbee – a friend actually said that to you?!!! That’s really bad to suggest that to someone IMO 🙁

      Your reaction sounds quite like mine was – total shock at what the filters did. I’d done the extreme “make me an old lady” and “make me a teenager” ones and they were fun, I didn’t feel sh*t about myself afterwards. the current IG ones, however, are a whole different ballgame…

  8. Pilar
    17 January 2022 / 7:08 pm

    I participated in your experiment and never realized the names pf the filters where THERE!!
    I never use “beautyfying” filters (there, I invented a word), just the silly ones and those pics are just in my phone hahaha I also love to use them with my son since he was a baby, he looks so cute with a beard at age 1 hahahaha

    What I didn’t realized was that you use botox sparingly! I want to! Hahaha I also have a “frown” tendency and my mom (70 years young) already looks like she’s always sad/mad.

    I do think that those filters cause the “Why can’t I look like that” more than we realize. Specially as you said when people you KNOW use them.

    So, thank you for staying true to yourself, crow’s feet and all, and btw you do look younger than almost 50, just not 30 hahahaha

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 11:38 pm

      Pilar your reaction/realisation was a great example of why filters should be SO much more transparent, the names at the top (bottom?) are obviously not obvious…!!

      And thank you for the compliment, though I’m disappointed you don’t think I look 30?!! I mean WHAAAAAT 😉 LOL

  9. 16 January 2022 / 10:53 pm

    People think that beauty has a prime stage in youth, when in each stage of our life we will always be beautiful, instead of making those traces of age invisible, it is better to enhance other aspects that help us to be more beautiful and aesthetic .

    • Catherine
      Author
      31 January 2022 / 11:39 pm

      I quite agree – I never think women “look good for X age”… they should just look good, full stop! 🙂

  10. 15 January 2022 / 7:11 pm

    Filters can be so warping to perspective!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:22 pm

      I couldn’t have summarised it better myself, Danielle…!

  11. 15 January 2022 / 3:37 pm

    Bravo for you writing this post! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:23 pm

      Thank you Paperesse – glad it resonated with you…!

  12. 15 January 2022 / 1:59 pm

    I have now read this three times, and I think I will bookmark it to find later. My people! I have always felt strange about instagram filters – I want to see my peers’ faces the way they are. I’m all for doing whatever you want to do with your own face, but I don’t like seeing photos that are so filtered you can hardly tell if someone has a nose. Thanks for this honest and lovely post!

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:24 pm

      Aww that’s really great to hear, Nicole – I appreciate you wanting to read it that many times! Thank you 😀

  13. Sue Dunlop
    15 January 2022 / 2:25 am

    entertaining and informative- great post. I was fascinated to see these filters and at 59 I see the attraction, but…it’s a slippery slope. Of course I don’t look the same as 10 years ago but is very important to me that I accept how I look now. Why? Because then I’m happier. I want to spend my time focussing on living, not wishing for something different. So I’m with you, Catherine. I’m here for the outfits, the thinking and supporting each other.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:25 pm

      Thank you so much Sue – I’m with you on seeing the attraction, though I sort of couldn’t till I tried them… they really are so effective at making you feel such utter dissatisfaction. And yes it’s VITAL that we accept how we look at every age, hear hear!

  14. 14 January 2022 / 4:55 pm

    I’m blown away. As someone who blogs for baby boomer women, we are so sick and tired of all these false images negatively impacting our self-esteem. I absolutely hate having my picture taken and while I know I should include more images of myself in my blog postings, I hesitate to do so because I do not look like the “filtered” bloggers my age do. Bad on me for thinking that way. Thank you so much for sharing. boomerbroadcast.net

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:27 pm

      Wow, thank you Lynda…! I think it’s clear from the comments here that we DON’T want to see filtered images, so please please reconsider and DO start posting pictures of yourself! I always find that I engage much easier with those that publish images of themselves, even if it’s just the one as a profile picture/avatar. It’s so much easier to have a conversation with someone who isn’t faceless 🙂

  15. Lynn Jones
    14 January 2022 / 2:54 pm

    Thank you for writing this and showing the differences. FWIW, I’m so with you on the cost and impact filters can have on self esteem, mental health, society’s expectations, etc.

    I did try one of the comedy ones – a sort of evil, panto, ice queen (faaaabulous!) – but I’ve stayed well away from the others.

    I, umm, I.. just don’t need something else to remind me how I don’t fit in the narrow definition of beauty. That or show me a ‘me’ I can never be.

    Are filters bad? No, I don’t think so, but I don’t think they are your friend either.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:29 pm

      Incredible, isn’t it Lynn – I was stunned at how it was such an easy way to show myself (without intending to) that it could very, very quickly impact your self-esteem. Your last sentence sums it up perfectly…!

  16. 14 January 2022 / 9:58 am

    This happened to me on the Daily Mail interview Catherine. Titled This is what 50 looks like. They erased every wrinkle off my face. It didn’t even look like me. I wish I could have Botox. I have a number one I could hold a penny in!

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:32 pm

      Oh lord I remember that Laurie – a bit like how one of the Woman magazines (woman & home?) airbrushed Lorraine Kelly’s face to as smooth as it could possibly be on their cover sometime last year. It was weird and creepy, and, IMO, kind of insulting. Are older women not good enough to appear on the cover of a magazine aimed at older women? And one that’s in the public eye and has access to all the surgery (not saying LK’s has had any/some/lots of work done, but you know what I mean) that she wants… she’s still too old to appear as her natural self? Shame on the publications that are still airbrushing our faces out 🙁

  17. 14 January 2022 / 7:22 am

    Brilliant post Catherine, I found that really interesting.
    I don’t see the point in these filters, this is what I look like and it would be awful to meet people who were expecting something different!
    I did try that filter for a laugh, we all thought it was horrible and very scary – but I’m going to look at the other filters just out of curiosity! But I won’t change , this is me. (Oh but I would like my hooded eyes done) Jacqui x

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:33 pm

      Thank you so much Jacqui! Be careful when trying out the other filters… when I did I had no idea I’d end up liking them. I almost had to give myself a slap on the face to wake myself up!

  18. 14 January 2022 / 7:08 am

    Freaking scary. What’s wrong with looking real, and imperfect? I’ve always loved your blog for it’s realness, and am really glad to see this post. People ask me why I’m not teaching yoga on youtube – the answer is that no-one would be interested in a small, much older, silver haired, tubby lady. No one. The world has gone mad with it’s fakeness. I often feel insecure reading a lot of blogs as the women are so perfect. hah!! Now I know that they are not – they’re filtered!!

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:44 pm

      Thanks Ratnamurti, so glad you liked the post… though you’ve worried me with your reasoning for not starting a YouTube channel: you’re sounding like the women I mentioned in this post who said that no one wanted to see an older woman on the internet?! Think about it: if people have said that you should be teaching yoga on Youtube then they think that you should be teaching yoga on YouTube! They haven’t said “If only you weren’t older, tubby and silver-haired, you could be teaching yoga on YouTube”, have they? They obviously think you’ve got something to give and talent that should be shared!

      And I think you’re being very harsh on yourself… they probably would describe you (which you described negatively) as a mature, gorgeously silver-haired, curvy lady who’s amazing at yoga. And in fact, you could have described Miriam Margolyes: she’s 80 and people LOVE her because amazing at what she does, i.e. entertaining others.

      No one who really is interested in what you have to say/demonstrate actually gives two hoots about your (as an example) curvy bottom or your greys or the fact that you’re X years old… remember: you are EXACTLY what other women who are older want to see! And, I’m sure, younger people too because very few of us look like supermodels and can relate to someone like you. As Tess Brigham said in that quote: “THese are people you know”.

      Pep talk over… please, please, please reconsider and take the plunge! You never know WHAT opportunities it may open up for you! 😀

      • 20 January 2022 / 8:01 pm

        Gosh, I’m tearful reading this. Thank you so much, Catherine. I’m using an old, outdated computer at the moment that is useless for doing anything, but I am now going to see what I can organise with youtube a bit further along this year when I’ve got a new computer. And you are so right about people, as I’m actually interested in teaching real people with imperfect bodies, and women who want to feel good about themselves. There is just too much gymnastic “yoga” out there, it’s silly to think that it’s appropriate for most people. Thank you so much xxxx I’m really grateful for what you wrote to me.

        • Catherine
          Author
          22 January 2022 / 2:24 pm

          Ratnamurti I’m so glad – you’ve had it in you all the time, I think it was just a case of someone like me coming along and saying For goodness sake just go for it… – sometimes you NEED someone outside of your close circle (meaning someone who can be completely objective, like me) to give you the push you need! I see a lot of articles that say that there’s never a right time to start something new, and you should never wait until something’s perfect before starting. JUST START. Most of the most successful blogs and social media platforms were started with very humble beginnings, no fancy equipment or expectations. I really should be taking my own advice here, as I’ve yet to get going with more video on Instagram; I know how hard it is to start, but I know that once I get going I’ll want to do more.

          Let’s encourage each other to do this together, yes?!!!!! xxx

  19. Miss Rumphius
    14 January 2022 / 3:33 am

    I don’t believe filters are good for women of any age, especially young girls. It creates an impossible standard of beauty and constant dissatisfaction with who we really are. I have encouraged my teen girls to not use them and I believe it has kept them very happy in their own skin.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 10:46 pm

      I absolutely agree with you 100% Miss R. I just didn’t talk about it very much because it’s a whole other blog post in a way… I just concentrated on how it affects older women. But you’re so right and I’m so glad you’ve discussed it with your daughters and encouraged them not to use them!

  20. Angela
    13 January 2022 / 10:27 pm

    I’ve recently stopped colouring my long hair, chopped it into a pixie and gone totally grey. A shock to the system but it’s what I wanted as my hair was very damaged and at 57 it was now or never. Looking at Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration on how to dress with my new look, what colours suited having gone from golden blonde to dark salt and pepper I was amazed at how youthful all these grey haired women looked, hardly a line in site. It started to convince me I had made a mistake, that suddenly I looked about 10 years older than I should. Totally dissatisfied, even though my face hadn’t changed at all. Now I see it’s because they, for the most part, were probably using filters. You are absolutely right, you can’t tell, they just just look fresh faced and bright eyed.
    As I have aged I’ve tried to find more bloggers, influencers, etc who look authentic but are still fashionable, looking fabulous but real. I’ve found your blog, love it, but you’re right, there are few and far between that seem relatable and this gives the average woman an unrealistic expectation of the beautiful art of ageing gracefully.
    Thank you for sharing

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:06 pm

      Isn’t that fascinating, Angela – I too think that about all the silver-haired older women on the interwebs… I reckon I’ve been doing the same as you and it just not occurring to me that they’re using filters. I hope we can change things because it can ONLY be more beneficial to everyone’s mental health and self-esteem to show off our natural faces and stop that feeling of dissatisfaction amongst us. It just perpetuates the myth that ageing is bad. It’s not – ageing can be hard in some respects but it’s also FABULOUS 😀

  21. 13 January 2022 / 7:25 pm

    I’m proud to say that I never use filters for my face! But I do put on some extra makeup before a shoot. That being said, I never like the way I look on photos. Always think I look really old, but hey that’s how I look! And I have to do it with that.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:08 pm

      I’m totally with you on the extra makeup, Nancy… I also have to add more blush and more lip colour otherwise I look washed out in photos. But I go makeup-free about 50% of the time at home! And like you, I know I look older. But we need to keep on about the fact that it’s NOT a bad thing by always showing our real faces 🙂

  22. Jullie
    13 January 2022 / 5:51 pm

    Wow who are these 90% of women who are using them? I’m now questioning everything I thought I knew about my friends (especially those I have only seen virtually since the various lockdowns started)! Still, that number seems very high, maybe that’s because I’m not on Instagram.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:10 pm

      I don’t know where they got the info from or who they asked, Jullie (I guess it does depend a lot on what the demographic for the probably-limited survey was), but it’s a frightening statistic. I’m going to put a poll on my stories tomorrow to ask who does use the filters and who doesn’t just to get a percentage myself from my followers!

  23. Lieve
    13 January 2022 / 5:49 pm

    I have been following the # over50style for over a year and lately I’ve been seeing more and more filtered pics of women who don’t look a day over 25. If the hashtag gives away your age, what’s the point in trying to look younger?

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:12 pm

      OMG you’re absolutely right, Lieve – adding the hashtag #over50style? And then filtering out your wrinkles?? That’s so counter-intuitive (if you’re trying to get away with being a 25 year old)!! I mean, that’s kinda stoopid if you ask me… #FacePalm

  24. 13 January 2022 / 5:45 pm

    Catherine, I tend to think of filters like I do makeup. A little bit to enhance who you are is fine but when it becomes a mask then I think it does just the opposite. No one stays twenty-one forever and frankly, most of the creative women I’ve known produced some of their best works at more mature ages. I know I have more to offer and my jewelry game is better too. 🙂

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:15 pm

      I’m with you on the makeup thing Norah, though I do still believe in women doing their makeup however they want the same way they can wear whatever they want. I think the problem comes only if you cannot face the world (online or IRL) without that thick mask… then it definitely a problem. But then I can sympathise with women with skin problems who don’t want to face the world fresh-faced… there are so many nuances. But Makeup is really there, filters are not, and I think therein lies the problem.

      And YES to women rocking their best life at 40-50 and over! Go them! Go us!! 😉

  25. 13 January 2022 / 5:28 pm

    Gosh…I am with the 10% of women who do not use filters. Hah.
    I agree with you, IG filters make you feel dissatisfied with yourself because you know you don’t look like that in real life. And you make women who look at your photos miserable because they think “why don’t I look like that?
    Like you I am not against plastic surgery and I have had some ‘work done’ mainly because of the same reasons as yours. I was old before my age and I looked like a sourpuss. But I never filter the wrinkles out of my face or neck on my blog or on IG. I even did a ‘make-down, removing all make-up.
    Greetje

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:17 pm

      I had no idea the percentage NOT using filters would be so small, Greetje… isn’t it scary?? I’m going to do a poll on my stories tomorrow (hopefully I’ll remember!) to see how many use them. I think it’s great that you had a facelift (which I already knew about) and were very honest about having it done and why. Good for you! But also good for you for not using filters and being even more real. You’re fabulous 😀

  26. 13 January 2022 / 5:04 pm

    Right on, Catherine! I did not even know these filters existed, that’s how naive I am – and they really give me the creeps. It now totally makes sense of what I’ve been reading about the effect of IG on young girls – as if we need anything else to make us feel more horrible at that age, or at this one! Yes, for us, totally false advertising, and a real disconnect with reality – like we all live in Sim City. Thanks for keepin it real, sister, and I mean REAL! I pledge to as well.

    • Catherine
      Author
      15 January 2022 / 11:19 pm

      Gosh that’s interesting that you didn’t know the filters existed, MK! And yes, it’s frightening that young girls may well be using them without a second’s thought. I hope that their mothers are teaching them to love themselves as they are and avoid the filters as much as possible, but if they’re using them themselves then what hope is there?! It’s a frightening thought. Thank you my lovely, glad you liked the post x

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