Daughter shows how her mother edits her face and body before posting photos online

The complex and inescapable relationship between social media and self-esteem is almost impossible for many chronically online people to ignore – or escape.

While many claim that social media is as “real” as ever, there is no escaping the truth that the algorithm offers us a tailored and often insincere representation of the lives of our favorite creators and colleagues. Editing apps like Facetune, budget-less influencer closets, and vlogs that capture just a few minutes of a creator’s day are just some of the ways we are “fooled” by a seemingly real reality.

It’s exactly the realization one young woman had to come to terms with thanks to her mother’s penchant for filtering and editing photos she shares on Facebook.

The woman revealed that her ‘Facetune mother’ edits all the photos she posts on social media, including her daughter’s face and body.

“My mom edits the crap out of all her photos,” creator Sabrina Coleman admitted, “but she also edits the crap out of me.”

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Despite realizing that her mother was clearly ‘face-tuning’ all the photos she posted on social media, she never felt the need to say anything. She admitted that it never “bothered” her because she knew “how her mother was doing.” As she built up a tolerance for seeing “edits” of her own appearance, she decided to make a TikTok about it.

Coleman shared some of the photos her mother edited, along with the originals for comparison, and admitted that her “unrecognizable” look is nothing new. “Luckily I don’t take it personally,” she said. “But I know it can be so harmful.”

Nearly 90% of young girls have used an editing app at some point in their lives, but most don’t go to the extremes, like this woman’s mother, who gleefully paints an unrealistic and unrecognizable picture of herself and her daughter on Facebook.

Coleman admitted that when she was at “her heaviest,” her mother had worked her body beyond recognition: “Losing weight doesn’t make me better.”

Although it seems that this young woman would not allow anyone else to perform this type of operation on her face and body, it has become normal for her mother to do so.

She pointed out the differences between the original and edited photos and emphasized that her mother had slimmed down her face and body. “My arm has never been so skinny,” she said of an edited photo.

Although she doesn’t directly mention it in her videos, these types of “norms” can be detrimental to self-confidence and self-esteem – in ways that many comments point out. “This breaks my heart,” one person wrote. “I hope you can learn from this to grow and heal.”

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As Coleman’s mother slims and smooths her face, shrinks her arms, and thickens her eyelashes, she sends a subliminal (or perhaps even outright) message to her daughter: You look better when you look different.

She very clearly alleviates her own insecurities and passes them on to her daughter by trying to “fix” them for social validation – and it’s nothing to skimp on.

“Why do all this work and extra gesture of uncertainty for nothing?” the daughter wrote in the comments. “I don’t think the edits make me look any better… a bad photo is a bad photo. Looking thinner won’t change that.”

Drastic Facetune edits, especially like these, can be incredibly damaging, potentially damaging trust, personal relationships, and self-esteem.

Psychology studies confirm what many commenters under the post pointed out: that exposure to edited photos and unrealistic images drastically damages self-confidence, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem.

Editing software and Photoshop apps also contribute to other image problems, such as body dysmorphia and even eating disorders, because unrealistic and impossible-to-achieve beauty standards are placed on a pedestal.

So while this daughter may not take offense to her mother editing her photos, it’s essential to remember the mental, emotional, and physical effects this can have on a person. As Coleman wrote in a comment, it’s better to abstain from editing altogether and feel comfortable accepting the “raw version” of yourself.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango, focusing on health and wellness, social policy and human interest stories.