A woman is highlighting the dangers of heavily edited posts on social media by sharing a video in which she repeatedly changes her appearance with filters.
If you’re not yet following Emily Clarkson on Instagram we suggest you rectify that ASAP as the 26-year-old from London is busy sharing body confidence messages with her followers.
In one of her most recent posts, the self-love advocate, who is the eldest daughter of Jeremy Clarkson, perfectly illustrates just how easily people can distort the reality of the images and videos they share on social media.
“It takes two seconds to completely alter your reality,” she says in the clip as she clicks her fingers and quickly filters her appearance.
“To eradicate blemishes, to whiten your teeth, to enhance your figure, even to end up with a full face of make-up.
“So don’t compare yourself to anything you see on here because you’ll never even really know what it is, that’s really real.”
Since sharing her empowering message, Clarkson’s video has clocked up more than 115K views and received hundreds of comments from people thanking her for shining a light on the issue.
“For a long time I have been talking about the dangers of filters, particularly things like FaceTune and the fact that people can use them without having to acknowledge the lies that they are telling,” she tells Yahoo UK.
“And then I saw a video that Sasha Louise Pallari had made about her movement the #FilterDrop - she was calling for influencers to drop the filter - it’s just false advertising.”
The blogger and author hopes in making the video she might encourage social media users to question the ‘reality’ of what they see and as a result stop comparing themselves to often unachievable visions of beauty.
“Now more than ever we are spending so much time on social media and things get so warped,” she says.
“It’s one thing to compare yourselves with strangers on the internet but when we filter ourselves too much it can just cause total dysmorphia.”
Clarkson says the danger of constantly editing our lives on social media is teat we may start to fear that our true lives won’t be able to match up.
“When we are constantly filtering ourselves, even subtly with things like the Paris filter on Instagram, our real lives will never ever look as good as they do on the Internet,” she says.
“If the reflection we see in the mirror is ‘uglier’ than the one we see on [social media] we’re just setting ourselves up for disaster.
“I want to remind people that their real selves are enough and that they mustn’t compare themselves with things online - they’re just not real.”
Clarkson hopes that by highlighting how edited social media can be, she will also encourage people to stop comparing themselves to others.
“Comparison is the thief of joy,” she says. “I know this because, way before social media, I spent so long comparing myself to other women - the ones I saw in the magazines, for example.
“I now know that so many of them were photoshopped, and if not they’d been made up and had their hair done and that one photo was not an accurate representation of their entire life.
“But when I was insecure and unhappy it didn’t matter, I was convinced their life was better than mine. I hope by showing people how not real so much of social media is, they might be less inclined to compete with the women that they see online.”
As well as calling out the use of filters and heavily edited posts, Clarkson also uses her platform to shout about the “ridiculous societal pressures placed on women” and a large part of that is talking about body confidence.
She’s keen to point out, however, that she doesn’t describe what she does as “body positivity”.
“That was a political movement started by black plus-size women as a reaction to their erasure in the media,” she explains.
“In doing that they opened the door for women like me to start sharing our own journeys with self-love and body confidence.”
Clarkson believes the body confidence and self-love movement, that she is part of, is vital for improving the mental health of young women.
“This wasn’t around when we were younger and the effects are clear to see. I want women to know that they are ‘normal’, whatever that means and that’s what this is about,” she says.
“It’s people celebrating their bodies - accepting themselves and in turn encouraging others to do the same.”
But in order for things to change Clarkson believes social media needs to be completely overhauled.
“It’s real people’s lives that are being affected by their negligence,” she says. “Something I’ve spoken to Sasha about with her #FilterDrop movement is demanding that Instagram users have to declare when they have edited their images in the same way influencers have to when they share paid content.”
Clarkson hopes that by continuing to draw attention to the subject she will help to bring the conversation into the mainstream.
“I want people to know what the realties of being online really are. As more people spend more time on social media platforms it’s more important than ever that a spotlight is shone in the dark corners and I love to use my platform to do that,” she adds.