Tiktok filter skewed selfie warning

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Facts: BDD

Dysmorphophobia, BDD, is a mental illness that causes the sufferer to believe that they are very ugly, to therefore not want to show themselves to others, and to see things in their own appearance that others do not.

BDD is not to be equated with more everyday thoughts like “I’m so ugly today”, but is more persistent and serious. People with the diagnosis may spend hours each day getting ready to go out, if they do.

The problem usually begins in adolescence but affects both sexes equally in adulthood. Around 1–2 percent of the population has BDD, but the number of people in the dark is believed to be large.

People with BDD are overrepresented among those seeking cosmetic surgery.

The most common treatment methods are therapy (CBT) and antidepressants.

Source: 1177, Daniel Rautio

“Bold glamour'” is the name of the filter that gives Tiktok users smoother skin, fixed eyebrows, sharper contours and a model-like glow. Similar functions to change the way the face looks on the phone have been found in different apps before, but with more advanced technology, “Bold glamour” is believable even if the person touches their face or changes the angle of their head.

That the image staring back at you on the phone isn’t real doesn’t matter. You are still affected.

— Even if it says that pictures or clips are retouched, you are negatively affected. It affects our body ideals, says Lisa Thorell, professor at the department of neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet who, among other things, made a report on the connection between digital media and mental illness.

The criticism against “Bold glamour” and similar more realistic filters has been sharp, user after user on Tiktok is amazed at how well the filter works but also what beauty ideals it is based on.

“Don’t Make It Better”

That an artificially “prettier” image of yourself can create real problems for your self-image is also confirmed by Helena Rönnberg, president of the OCD Association, a non-profit organization that works to support people with, among other things, OCD:

— These filters mess things up for people with dysmorphophobia. We already know that people with the diagnosis go to beauty salons and say, “I want to look like this filter,” she says.

BDD, or dysmorphophobia, is a diagnosis where the person morbidly experiences themselves as ugly. Daniel Rautio is a psychologist and researcher at KI and an expert on the disease.

— There is no research that connects BDD with social media, but they (the filters) certainly do not make things better for people with the problem, he says and continues:

— For the 1–2 percent of the population who have BDD, it is more difficult today than before, social media is so big and a lot of it is beauty-oriented.

The interaction makes a difference

Both Rautio and Rönnberg emphasize that problems with physical self-image and BDD are not new phenomena. However, social media and filters have created a new reality.

— One is overwhelmed by an enormous amount of comparative material. It’s no longer about comparing yourself to the two prettiest people in school or the prettiest in the class, it’s a globe full of people – who aren’t even that pretty, but it’s filters that make them so pretty, says Helena Rönnberg.

Lisa Thorell points to another aspect that distinguishes the filter problem from previous problematic body ideals.

— Above all, it is the interaction. Now it’s your own body you expose, to get comments or likes. That part, the social part, getting confirmation, is something we know is very important for young people. Previously, it was magazines or posters, perhaps, and easier not to connect to one’s own body, she says.

— We also know that it matters what you consume on social media. Unlike, for example, gambling, where there is a correlation between quantity and addiction, it is instead what you focus on that can create problems with social media.