Since a young age, females have been told by countless ads that their natural selves are not enough. Airbrushed images of women sans freckles, wrinkles and roles are a dime a dozen, while commercials tell us the smoothness of our skin, the length of our lashes and the colour of our hair can all be altered for a better, more beautiful self.
BuzzFeed gathered a few of their female employees for an experiment: to reveal the facial "flaw" that irritates them the most, and of which they would prefer to see Photoshopped away. Would they love the results, or ultimately feel naked without the unique quirks that make up their individuality?
Casey’s feelings before:
I love my freckles because they help make me who I am as a person. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments where I completely freak out over the fact that I have dark spots popping up all over my face every time I let the sun hit my skin. I mean, what is that about? Even though I apply sunscreen all of the time, I still have a fear that in 30 years I’ll wake up and my freckles will have blended together and taken over my face.
I definitely don’t believe that my freckles are a flaw, but I will admit that I’ve wondered what I would look like without them.
Casey’s feelings on her Photoshopped picture:
AHH! I look so weird. One time in college this random person standing by the elevators told me my hair looks “um, earthy” — just follow me, here — and I kind of think without my freckles I look less “earthy”? Does that even make sense? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t look bad without my freckles, but I definitely feel like freckle-less me has less character. She’s a tad boring.
Sheridan’s feelings before:
Every time I take a photo, I have to tell myself, “Relax, Sheridan. Lower your lip.” You see, I’ve been called every name in the book. Geena Davis. Horse mouth. And then there was the dentist trying to push veneers on me. Apparently I have very small teeth and a whole lot of gums. I like my smile when I get to control it — when I know just how much lip to raise. But I absolutely loathe photos of myself where you see my real smile, when I’m laughing so hard my upper lip raises up to reveal all the gums in the world.
I hope one day I can love my smile just as much as my husband says he loves it, but today is not that day.
Sheridan’s feelings on her Photoshopped picture:
Wow. It’s bizarre, I’m in this weird in-between of loving and loathing the “after” photo. Just looking at my mouth, I like it. I have way less gums, my teeth seem way more proportional to the rest of my mouth. But then I looked at my face overall. The lines from my eyes and mouth disappeared, all the things that happen when I smile — like a big, real, happy Sheridan smile — were gone.
Erin’s feelings before:
You know Wednesday Addams? I related to her dark eye circles on a spiritual level at a very young age. I was the only kid in my second-grade class who looked like they could use a good night’s sleep. So over the years I’ve tried everything I can get my hands on — creams, cucumbers on my face, all methods of concealer — but they still show even through all that.
Before the shoot I had to step into the ladies’ room to remove the foundation and concealer I put under my eyes every day. That made me anxious. I know it’s a relatively small “flaw,” but the idea of people seeing my naked (gasp!) under-eye circles in the light of day is a little intimidating.
Erin’s feelings on her Photoshopped picture:
Wow. I have a LOT of feelings right now. Without my under-eye circles, it actually makes a big difference in my face (at least to me). What’s weird is that the person without under-eye circles looks like someone who’s super peppy, bubbly, and came from some magical cornfield in the Midwest. It just doesn’t look or feel like me.
Claire’s feelings before:
I was nervous for this shoot and presenting my face to the internet — I even tried wearing a shirt that would bring out my eye color in the hopes that people would spend more time looking at my eyes (probably the only thing on my face that I love) than other parts of my face. I’ve pretty much had a love/hate relationship with my lips since middle school. I never felt like they were big enough, particularly my upper lip. I just looked at pictures of models and actors, and none of them had small lips. It felt like in order to be beautiful on the most basic level, you had to have nice plump lips.
Claire’s feeling on her Photoshopped picture:
WHOA. I never thought a couple of extra millimeters of lip would make such a difference. I look so…strange, like I have creepy baby doll lips or hungry fish lips. I have a whirlpool of conflicting feelings right now. On one hand, I feel like my after picture looks ~objectively~ better since bigger lips are ~objectively~ prettier, but ultimately it’s just not my face and not me.
My face has a lot of strong features as it is, and I’m realizing that my thinner lips balance the rest of my face out.
Susan’s feelings before:
Ever since I was a kid, my family has told me that I have a face shaped like a “mantou” (that’s a Chinese steamed bun, lol) — and I do. People always assume I’m way younger than I am because of these chubby cheeks. But after years of cheek-pinching from my grandpa and people telling me I look 12, I’ve learned to accept my face shape. That said, it’s still something I’m hyper-aware of, especially with all the photos of models and their defined AF cheekbones popping up on my Instagram feed
. Unless I’m having a lazy day, I usually don’t forgo bronzer and I spend a couple minutes every morning contouring.
Susan’s feelings on her Photoshopped picture:
OH MY GOD, THAT LOOKS HELLA WEIRD. (Also, there’s something really disappointing about seeing a professional photo of yourself — like, you expect the photo to look hawt AF because you were in a studio but, really, you still look like the lil’ nugget you’ve been since day one.) The lower half of my face is so disproportionate to my head. I look like an alien. I think I’ll stick to my chubby cheeks, THX
Would you undergo this experiment to learn more about yourself?