One of the biggest reasons selfies have become such an obsession lately is their potential to empower. In this phenomenon, you have complete control of your online image — a powerful concept. Whether or not this is actually true is up for debate, but a new iPhone app that artificially slims down your online image certainly works to counteract the "selfies are feminist" argument.
The app, SkinneePix, asks amateur photographers to take the next jump: manipulate their online image to look thinner. As if perpetuating the idea that "thin actually is better" wasn't damaging enough, SkinneePix's tag line is a built-in enabler for those with low self-esteem.
Every time you open the app, "Our Little Secret" flashes across the screen, suggesting that no one has to know that you feel really self-conscious about your weight. For all the teenage girls in the danger zone for eating disorders, this is a red flag.
This is one of the video advertisements from the creators, "Pretty Smart Women," claiming that high school girls shouldn't leave their homes without SkinneePix. Spring break is approaching, ladies. You need to be ready to artificially look thin for strangers on the Internet!
The concept of editing photos to enhance that tan or using just the right Instagram filter to manipulate the sunset isn't new, but taking it a step further to specifically make selfies look thinner is highly problematic —not to mention the fact that the ability to instantly shed 15 pounds is likely to make subjects feel worse, not better, about their real appearance.
While SkinneePix was released this month, it's not the first to attempt to exploit Americans' obsession with weight. Both the iTunes and Android stores offer apps to make you look thinner, with descriptions like: "Did you know that a normal camera adds body weight?" and "Even if you are fit, use skinny camera to take flattering pictures of your friends."
Image Credit: iTunes Store/Skinny Cam
Image Credit: Android/Slim Photo Creator
An unhealthy obsession with selfies has been arguably linked with developing low self-esteem, increasing requests for plastic surgery and even suicidal feelings. By pushing the assumption that something is wrong with bodies as they are, this app seems to encourage all those worst possible scenarios.