#Nofilter: are we finally heading for a less slick world?


On 10 August, in a short aside, the famous french youtuber Léna Situations announced in her August vlogs that she wanted to detach herself from Instagram filters, like her friend and influencer Style Tonic who recently celebrated a year without filters. The reason? The need to appear in their true light without having a biased image of themselves, as dangerous for them as for their community. In July, after the United Kingdom and Spain, the Norwegian government passed a law requiring influencers and advertisers to report any use of a retouched photo on Instagram and other social networks. Are we finally heading towards a less slick world?

I use the freckle filter so much on insta that when I see myself in the mirror I’m shocked I don’t have one – the instagram lady

(@lenasituations) March 24, 2020

Has taking responsibility and loving yourself as you are become the new mantra of generation Z? The road ahead is still long, according to some studies conducted around the world. In 2020, the British organisation GirlGuiding looked at the impact of the use of online filters on young women. The result? 48% of young women (aged 11 to 21) said they regularly use applications or filters to improve their online image, while 39% said they were annoyed at not looking like their retouched photos. It is clear that a vicious circle continues to exist. This is when several movements and legislations come into play to try to reduce the phenomenon.

This is notably the case with the birth of the hashtag #Filterdrop, launched by British make-up artist and photo model Sasha Louise Pallari in 2020. This campaign invited users to post natural photos to desecrate “perfection” and the perpetual lie that encourages consumers to buy cosmetics under the guise of filtered images. It was this same campaign that convinced the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK to ban the use of deceptive filters for any commercial advert published via Instagram.

Last May, it was the tiktokeuse @toridawn817 who called out the social network TikTok for automatically activating a filter that changed the shape of her face without her permission. The application’s desire to “beautify” its users was totally denied by the company, which subsequently removed the effect on the pretext of a technical problem. If this illusory world has more than once been judged dangerous for the well-being of teenagers in their identity construction, the numerous initiatives against it nevertheless suggest an encouraging awareness.


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