My aim for these selfies was to showcase women’s obsession with wanting to achieve perfection for their online presence due to the pressures we experience from the media. From personal experience with social media, I believe that this is a gendered issue and that females are more commonly trying to post the ‘perfect’ selfie. Modern technology allows us not only to shoot and re-shoot pictures many times, but also to edit and alter them after we have gotten the right shot. The mobile application Perfect365 is only one of many editing softwares that can easily be downloaded and used on a smart phone. The application allows the user to drastically change their appearance. For example, the user can change their skin tone and texture, their eye size and color, apply make up, brighten their teeth, and even alter their face shape. The three photos consist of the un-edited original photo, the edited version done with Perfect365, and a collage of the two pasted together to show the contrast.
In her research essay Cyberbabes: (Self-)Representation of Women and the Virtual Male Gaze, Laura Sullivan stresses that “the objectification of women‘s faces and bodies pervasive in mainstream mass media forms one of the cornerstones of women’s oppression”(192). The new ways in which we can take photographs of ourselves and edit them with the technology we have readily available to us now allow us to objectify and oppress ourselves in a whole new way. We take control of creating images that reflect how much pressure we are under to constantly look appropriate to have a presence online. Sullivan highlights that women who “participate may be understood as doing so from the place of their own internalized oppression; that is, they offer themselves as objectified images to be consumed” (192); a woman’s image becomes a commodity. It is becoming harder to differentiate between ‘real’ and edited images in the online world and “new technology may reinforce and amplify [women’s] oppressions in new ways” as we instantaneously make altered bodies for ourselves and transform ourselves into images (Sullivan 193-194). I was hoping to showcase this issue with these selfies.