the problem with auto-retouching

should we always be trying to look the same?

Over at Medium, writer Chris Stokel-Walker has penned a story about the trend of retouching ourselves using mobile phone technology—usually apps—and the companies who are enabling this thorny habit. Particularly noteworthy is a new a feature on Samsung smartphones called Beauty Face, which automatically retouches your face.

Found in the Samsung Galaxy Ace 4, Beauty Face smooths out wrinkles and erases blemishes—even if you don't ask it to. That being said, there are plenty of apps we use all the time to retouch our selfies—whether we're brightening a photo so we have less acne or throwing a filter over a close-up so we look less tired. So the issue isn't really that they are offering retouching technology; it's that the technology dictates what needs to be retouched. And honestly, we worry about how we look enough as it is, without our phones chiming in. 

Vanity aside, the danger with this and the many similar apps is that it encourages everyone to look the same and to adhere to the same standard of beauty. Sure, we'd love smoother skin and more symmetrical faces, but at the end of the day, it's our differences and supposed "flaws" that make us who we are—might as well just go with it. 

(Source: The Cut)