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Digitally enhanced ‘selfies’ can’t buy love

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Digitally enhanced photos have been used for a long time in advertising to convince us that we need to purchase a product in order to achieve a certain look. And it is no surprise that there are a plethora of apps which allow you to enhance the photo you take of yourself. According to a report by Bianca Bosker, these apps include Perfect365, FaceTune, ModiFace, and Pixtr, and they are mostly used by adolescent and young women.

Mary Lisa Patton, BA Psychology, CADC-II, ICADC, works with women and adolescent girls in the Sacramento area who struggle with body image and eating disorders. “Beautiful image equals a certain standard of love and acceptance on a surface level,” she said. “I believe that is why people want to have a ‘perfect picture’ whether it be for a business profile or a dating website.”

She is concerned that our girls will be encouraged to use all the resources at our disposal today to change our God-given features and beauty. Patton concedes that air brushing might make a good first impression, but then she asks what happens if at some point you may have to meet the person who you have impressed with your airbrushed version of self? “What kind of impression do you want to give them then? Will it be a disappointment? Or is it what you see, is what you get?”

Patton encourages parents to have conversations with their daughters about beauty. What is fake beauty? What is real beauty? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how will your son or daughter define beauty? Will they look to the soul or simply keep it superficial?

“When we take off the mask of a perfect complexion, and maybe a little blemish shows, it’s authentic and it’s vulnerable,” she said. “[An imperfect image] is truly beautiful because it reaches to the core of the real beauty we long for: unconditional love and intimacy. Now that is an impression to behold.”

Patton is hosting a counseling group in Roseville for women to "ReWrite Beautiful". This group is geared for helping women overcome substance abuse, eating disorders and codependency. Call 530-270-9294 for more information.

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