"I did not know using IG filters will become my obsession"

"I did not know using IG filters will become my obsession"

“I am blessed to have a loving family who has always been supportive of my choices. I have a loving brother who is 2 years younger than me. We share a sibling-y bond. Yesterday, after he came out from the shower and was getting ready in front of the mirror, he started comparing my skin color to his and said he is fairer and that whatever I use I can never be as fair, shares Shreya, an IT employee working in an MNC. We all have seen similar instances around us and largely tend to ignore them or take them on a funny note. These things happening early on in life condition our mind to think that fair skin is superior in ways. This discrimination has existed for years, what is fueling it now?

 
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Colorism and why does it need more attention than yesterday?

Colorism does not need any introduction. It is a prevalent issue in India for dog's years, it gained more attention after the movement #BlackLivesMatter was supported throughout the world. There have been deeply ingrained stereotypes in the minds of Indians regarding treating the lighter-skinned as more attractive than their darker-skinned counterparts. All the media and influence around, has made it more apparent.

It has been causing damage to the self-esteem and mental well-being of people with darker skin tones. Some of the features on the social media sites are promoting colorism unknowingly and leaving people with this perpetual FOMO.

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Impact of Social Media

According to a recent survey by Instagram and Hootsuite, there are roughly 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram belonging to the 18-34 age bracket. The minds of the youth are highly impressionable and are vulnerable to health problems. The WHO estimates one in seven 10–19-year-old experience mental health issues. One of the leading causes of these problems is the influence of social media causing social comparison among peers, especially on color.

The skin lightening, slimming filters have gone to the extent that some filters sort of change certain things about your appearance and can fix certain parts of you. When speaking with some youngsters, we got to understand that they did not realise when did they become so obsessed with using IG and Snapchat filters to look flawless. This is beyond damaging.

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There are numerous celebrities and influencers posting pictures on social media who are primarily of brighter skin color and thin-ideal shape which leads to body dissatisfaction and irregular eating habits among adolescents. It also leads to several physical health issues in the long run.

 

Are we becoming apes?

This is not just a problem with the darker-skinned individuals. People of lighter skin are following the various trends going on social media regarding getting tanned skin or a dusky-skinned tone. Social Media has made both the lighter and darker-skinned individuals uncomfortable in their own skin. India has a healthy mixture of all skin tones which makes us diverse and beautiful, yet social media has made most of us insecure.

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Mokah Take

Everyone is running behind that ideal skin tone and perfect look while the truth is that every skin tone is beautiful, it is unique, it is our legacy and we must preserve it. Social Media can serve as a double-edged sword in influencing young people. We must collectively spread awareness and build social support for individuals of all colors, sizes and shapes.

 

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