Why I think Snapchat is making us more insecure than ever before

It wasn’t until someone told me my cheeks were looking chubby in an Instagram picture that I realised I was addicted to Snapchat filters.

The picture they were referring to was one from a photo shoot with a professional photographer, and while they do say the camera adds a few extra pounds, I thought my face looked perfectly normal.



But when I scrolled down the rest of my feed I realised what had happened, all the other images on my feed were taken on Snapchat using a filter than lightens skin, slims down the face and airbrushes you.


The first time I ever tried Colourpop. Nothing was the same 😍

A post shared by Phoebe Parke 🍍 (@phoebeparke) on


Then, a few weeks later, I met up with someone who wanted advice on setting up their own online community, and thought I was a good person to speak to about what I’d learned by starting Bloggers of Colour.

After the (very fruitful) chat, we decided to take a selfie, and as she didn’t have Snapchat on her phone, I whipped my phone out, opened the app, scanned my face by holding down a button and voila, my normal weekday face was transformed into a contoured dream.



I can only imagine what she thought of me.

You might be wondering what the issue is, don’t we all want to look perfect in pictures? Totes, we definitely do. But I think it’s got to the point where we’re becoming incredibly insecure.

Here’s why:


1. We don’t believe in our sauce anymore

You know what happens when you take selfies with a pre applied filter most days of the week, post them on social media and then look at yourself in the mirror in the evening?

You see a difference, some people are OK with that difference – they understand that social media isn’t real life, it’s just like a celebrity looking at an airbrushed image of themselves in a magazine.

But some people look at themselves in the mirror and either don’t recognise the person staring back, or don’t like it, and want to look like that filtered, contoured, fleeky person all the time.

“Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on/That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong”

Now I don’t know why Drake sang those lines, but I think it’s because  when we’re chilling we’re at our most authentic – that’s why we love those pictures of people when they’re caught off guard – you see something different, something vulnerable.

Filtering your face before you even take the picture means putting a mask on before even seeing what your face looks like and checking the lighting. What did you do before Snapchat? I’m pretty sure you still looked amazing in pictures.

You don’t need a Snapchat filter to look good, believe in your sauce.


2. We have FOMO*

“Ahh everyone went to see Beyoncé tonight, I should’ve gone.”

So you feel like you’re missing out because everyone went, or because you actually want to see Beyoncé perform?

What you should be asking is why no one invited you (just kidding.)

I found that I could spend hours watching other people enjoy themselves, and not feel any better afterwards, it just left me feeling hungry, restless and wanting to drink wine.

Also: Snapchat makes everything look fun once you’ve got the angle right and added a geo-filter and some emojis, and I used to Snapchat way more at events where I was alone or not having that much fun.

*Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.


The most underrated filter on snapchat 💎💎

A post shared by Phoebe Parke 🍍 (@phoebeparke) on


3. We have SHOW-MO

OK I made this one up. But I think it accurately describes the feeling we get when a plate of food arrives and we immediately take our phone out and take a picture (I am SO guilty of this.)

I learned that you don’t have to document everything. I love social media (especially Twitter) and I’ve made some amazing connections through it.

In fact, I met the whole Receipts Podcast team on Twitter, and now we work together on an incredible and honest podcast that allows us to really be ourselves, no filter.

I’ve decided not to use my phone on certain occasions; mainly at dinner and when I’m with family.

And now when I come back to my phone, there are actually notifications there instead of a blank screen because I checked it 0.2 seconds ago.

I’m not here to tell you to delete Snapchat or stop using filters, I’m just asking you to think about what I’ve written here.


Further reading:

Fight the filter: Snapchat selfies distort users’ self-image – USA Today

Women are getting pre-Christmas surgery to look good in party selfies – Evening Standard

I’m deleting Snapchat, and you should too – Katie Zhu, Medium


Are you addicted to Snapchat filters? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @PhoebeParke.

Want to see something else I created? Take a look at my T-Shirts.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3 – 4 

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