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  • Writer's pictureJay Austin

We all do it... don’t we?

I’m sure that when I was a kid, the word “filter” only stood for something that my mum used for the coffee machine...something I was not allowed to touch.. Oh how things have changed! It seems the word “filter” has taken on a completely different meaning with something all of us use, see, hear and experience every day! Filtered pictures, filtered advertising, filtered statuses, filtered posts... all for what? I’ll tell portray “The Perfect Life” whatever that is! I’m not saying I don’t or haven’t blemished out a spot on my face OR made it look a little more sunny in a picture, because it’s been raining for 3 days straight or even filtered a status down with actually HOW pissed off I am! But I make no mistake in blurring the lines of reality and fantasy within my life! If people ask me something I will always tell them the honest unfiltered truth - that’s probably my problem! I’m too honest! But what worries me is the amount of filtered news, pictures, posts and stories of some peoples lives (that are on social media) which giving others, most of those children, an unrealistic idea of what life is really like. It’s not perfect and things don’t always go right first time! Some people do reuse old pictures, airbrush the fat off, make out their life is perfect (whatever that is!)... but the matter of fact is.. it isn’t perfect. No ones is! 

We’re human and it’s in our instincts to want to look better, do better, want more or even be seen to have more than we actually have! I think it’s a shame seeing kids already very aware of their bodies (especially on Instagram) and how they “think” they need to look using theses “flawless selfies” filtering out any wrinkle/dimple/spot or blemish! It’s part of growing up! However much I cringe at old photos of me - it reminds me that I once was a teenager covered in spots and had THAT hair or THAT bruise! I’d like to think I’ve gone from strength to strength with my fashion sense, face regime, ideas and body image (with hard work) not a filter! All today’s kids will look back on and say “wow look at that dog filter I picked when I was 12 The other thing it does is create an unrealistic idea of how peoples lives actually are; which then can lead onto other people (even your friends/family) feeling like their life isn’t good enough or as glamorous or as exciting as yours! For example, I noticed one friends posts on Instagram recently of their trip away and honestly it looked like they had the best time – something which actually made me feel quite depressed...thinking he was doing something really exciting with his life and I was stuck at home working 24/7. It was only when I spoke to him after he’d returned that he told me how much hassle he’d had. He’d been mugged, he’d split up with his girlfriend, he’d run out of money and lost his job and actually couldn’t wait to be back. Yet his Instagram post said different – there were amazing beaches, fantastic action shots, beautiful food and scenery and (if I’m honest!) his relationship seemed a match made in heaven - it wasn’t! When talking to him I said “don’t you feel the photos looked fake from how you were actually feeling and he said “yep..I don’t know why I did it to be honest, I had the worst time and just wanted to be back home!” I think that’s why it’s so important to sometimes unfilter a picture or what you really want to say and show. Let me ask you this... When was the last time you took a picture without filtering it or retaking it a million times to get that perfect light. Or perfect pose. Or perfect look of bliss! I know when I was a kid you didn’t get that choice – you took a photo, you handed the camera roll in to the supermarket, you waited a week and then shamefully headed back to the supermarket to observe the evidence (which you knew the supermarket staff would have seen already) and pray that half the photos were decent or not too out of focus! I lost count of how many times I spent money on getting a “fast track” photo service at a supermarket to then return a couple of days later to pick up a disappointing pack of pictures of my thumb which had covered the lense! I’m not against using filters... as sometimes they can be really funny, appropriate and even the lift that we ALL need sometimes when we feel rough or look like we’ve had a weeks hangover. But sometimes those pictures are the best ones for memories in years to come! 

Also I think it’s dangerous on the effect it has on you over a long period of time. You find yourself looking back at photos thinking OMG I’ve aged really bad this month and then you realise it’s because half the photos last month you took all were filtered/had amazing lighting/glamourised... (is that even a real word?) What really drives me mad... and I’m even victim to it sometimes, are Instagram stories/Facebook stories. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about it’s when people post short videos/pictures of their day...usually “HASHTAGGING” something partially related to what they are doing! For instance someone could be walking through the park – take a picture - post it and caption #ParkLife which is fine! But it is when certain people take a photo of a coffee cup with a few bits of scrap paper in the background and write #BusyPlanningHugeEvent when in fact... they’re sat at home doing sweet F.A Bored. Lying. Being fake.

But it makes the rest of us think “OMG they have an event coming up and I’m doing nothing, they’re busy, I’m not, I need to do something, I need to plan something, I need to look busy, I need to take a picture“ or those people that go to the gym to get “that” gym selfie and hashtag #GymBody #Fitness when they’ve probably done nothing but sit in the sauna for half hour and haven’t even touched a cross-fit machine! OR the really really REALLY sad people that take picture of them next to a swanky car or next to a “private jet” or outside a penthouse balcony - when in fact the car is mummy and daddy’s, the private jet is from an airshow exhibition and the penthouse is a private party you weren’t invited too but escorted yourself out to get in as a plus one. Yes I know someone who does that. Rank. So sometimes things are not always what they seem and actually your life could be a lot more glamorous, full, busy, fun and perfect “whatever that means” than their fake, over filtered, picture perfect, altered, unrealistic #SELFIE Stay happy and humble! Much love Jay x x  

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