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Instagram Models and Photoshopping: An Epidemic

Within the past few years, there has been a new wave of “Instagram models” who use Instagram to promote and make money from brand deals. This social media outlet not only allows these people to share photos of themselves but also life experiences and personal stories, making fans feel more connected.

Let me break it down: in traditional modeling, models sign with an agency, who will represent them and assign them photo shoots, commercials, etc. That agency gets a percentage of the profit from that job. With Instagram modeling, companies contact the model to promote their items through pictures and videos of themselves with the company’s product. They make themselves a “brand” and are selling themselves.

For years, the traditional modeling industry has been photoshopping images, and it has become well known by the public. It’s simple–people buy things that look appealing. The thing about Instagram models is that we see their everyday lives and experiences through posts. We see them as regular people like us living luxurious lives and looking their best. We follow them because we want to be them. And sure, to an extent, it can be inspiring seeing others live their best lives, but it can also be damaging, and that is where photoshopping comes into play.

Taken that in a survey of girls 9 and 10 years old, 40% have tried to lose weight, and that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies” which grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen, there is an obvious problem, and doctored images are the primary cause.

When Instagram models edit images of themselves, it is even more psychologically damaging than regular models, because we see them as everyday people. It is well known within the Instagram community that many models doctor their images, there are very few users that fess up to photoshopping.

It is surprisingly easy to doctor your own images with apps on your phone. Many teenagers I know do it. Patricia Bright made a video on how she edits her photos, here showing how Instagram models really edit pictures to make them look perfect using apps like Facetune. Instagram model @nxshaya openly admits to photoshopping. She has a pinned story on her profile showing exactly how she edits her photos.

Instagram models are my main source of fashion inspiration, and will most likely continue to thrive on social media. However, they should keep in mind the dangers of editing photos without notice.

Photo by Dario Baruzzi

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