First published on Kettlemag, available at: http://www.kettlemag.co.uk/article/perfect365-dangers-perfection-just-one-tap
These days, it seems as if there is an app for everything. Now, thanks to Perfect365 and other related apps, you can even photoshop your selfies into doll-like ‘perfection’. The app allows you to upload a selfie and then tweak it in a myriad of eerie ways, doing everything from applying make up to your face to enlarging your eyes and lifting your cheek bones. The aim of this app? To create perfection “in just one tap”.
These ridiculous apps have jumped on the selfie bandwagon and taken off with immense popularity, as people are apparently fond of being able to completely manipulate and change their own faces with the use of a smart phone. As children, we are taught to accept ourselves for who we are and that perfection is a myth. Yet as we grow older, we are now being told that we require the help of some clever technology to be beautiful and that we must ‘improve’ on the way that we look.
Effective but toxic
When I heard about this app, I was intrigued to try it out, if not also slightly horrified and apprehensive of the possibilities. Testing of this app led to a sudden spike in my horrified and apprehensive state, and you can see the result of my attempt below.
Let me begin by confirming that this article is not a criticism of the quality or capability of the Perfect365 app. It does exactly what it says on the tin with a relatively high level of professionalism, to the extent that careful and subtle use of this app could create an image that would be believable to the unsuspecting viewer. You can choose from a range of make up looks and pinpoint specific points on your face, such as your lips, which you can adjust so that changes are accurate as possible.
However, the app can be as realistic (just don’t try the hair – it looks like you stepped into a cardboard cut-out) and diverse as it wants, but this doesn’t distract from the fact that it is toxic. Perfect365 encourages a narcissistic dream. Honestly, do we really require new technology so we can obsess over our looks even beyond choosing flattering angles and Instagram filters? People are quick to pinpoint media and celebrities for promoting an unrealistic cookie-cutter image of beauty, so why has this app, which personifies this problem, received such positive feedback?
My terrifying experience
With the app that can supposedly make you look like a Kardashian (as suggested by Buzzfeed, in a funny and slightly terrifying articlein which they use this and similar apps to transform people into Kylie Jenner) I ‘deepened’ my smile, enlarged my eyes, added fake makeup, lifted my cheek bones, slimmed down my nose and face, smoothed my skin out, brightened my eyes and increased the size of my eyelashes beyond natural ability.
The results are absolutely terrifying. Funnily, it’s only possible to enlarge, lift, deepen and slim down, as if I could never possibly desire opposite effects. This app is reinforcing typical western standards of beauty and telling people everywhere that true beauty only comes from tweaking your features to fit this mould.
‘Perfection’ is an unhealthy and unrealistic ideal
One of the biggest dangers of these kinds of apps is that they may leave you feeling unhappy with the way that you really look. This is exactly what happened to an American woman called Triana Lavey, who used apps like Perfect365 to ‘improve’ the way that she looked in selfies. This change eventually became too temporary for Lavey, who then proceeded to spend $15,000 on plastic surgery so that she could look good for her all-important self-portraits.
Of course, this app could be used for entertainment, for fun and to feel that little bit more confident in yourself as the Instagram likes roll in, but it’s important to remember that it is all built on a lie. Moreover, this lie may leave you feeling dissatisfied with your normal face. Nobody is a walking CoverGirl and we can’t all take selfies like Kylie Jenner, but why should we? Your life doesn’t begin and end with your online persona, and neither does it improve with the help of Photoshop. Perfection in one tap? I’ll leave the ‘perfection’ to the Barbie dolls, thank you.