Note: This article discusses mental health topics including body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
If you've ever used a social media app, then photo editing is nothing new. Almost everyone has adjusted the brightness, added a filter, or whitened their teeth at least once in their lives.
However, while big names like Facetune – a popular photo editing app – may ring a bell, many didn't know the software was capable of catering to video as well.
In the video, which has garnered over 10.1 million views in a single day, Victoria can be seen posing with an altered frame to the lyrics, "This ain't build a bitch/I'm filled with flaws and attitude/So if you need perfect, I'm not built for you," from the song "Build a Bitch" by Bella Poarch. As the chorus reaches its peak, Victoria drops the edit and reveals her natural body.
"People were shocked to learn that even videos can be edited and photoshopped," Victoria told BuzzFeed.
"If I stand to the side...and I hold my arms up so that they don't get in the way, I can use this little tool, and I can make my stomach, and my butt, and just my body look different," she said in the clip.
Looking through the comment section of Victoria's video, many shared personal anecdotes about the effects this level of editing may have had — or is having — on the app's predominant audience of teens and young adults.
Victoria, herself, understands the hardships that come with viewing unrealistic — and flat-out fake — standards online: "My initial relationship with social media started off toxic and really took a toll on my mental health," she told BuzzFeed. "Having dealt with my own eating disorder and experiences with anxiety and depression, I know how easy it is to feel ashamed. I constantly felt like I wasn't good enough... I was really buying into this notion that everyone's life was perfect and mine wasn't. "
According to licensed clinical therapist Jessica Brown, who specializes in treating both teens and adults, this link between online images and self-worth is not uncommon.
"The use of filters and editing are not necessarily problematic; however, the problem arises when the individuals viewing the image or videos are not aware that they are looking at a distorted reality," Jessica told BuzzFeed. "These images can create an unrealistic and often unattainable reality that can lead to lower self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and/or body dysmorphia."
Videos, photos, likes, and comments are a double-edged sword, as Jessica has come to understand — they can both connect and isolate consumers, depending on the circumstance. However, regardless of the effects, these apps aren't going anywhere, leaving one option: "As social media becomes a fixture in our everyday lives, we must learn to embrace our differences and uniquities as our strengths — be bold enough to stand out and live unapologetically unfiltered," Jessica said.
Through the years, Victoria has been able to do just that. After acknowledging the ease of editing tools and their pervasiveness online, Victoria found a power and passion in presenting her own insecurities for the internet to see, with hopes of steering others away from feeling less than. "You won't ever find photoshop, editing, or airbrush filters on my pages," Victoria shared. "I share the real challenges I face so that others can know they are not alone."
Though it's easier said than done, Victoria hopes that her candid account can encourage others to stop comparing themselves to others online, and that it is a step toward normalizing being, well, normal.
If you want to see more of Victoria, you can follow her on TikTok and Instagram. Similarly, Jessica can be found running Nia Noire Therapy + Wellness, her private mental health practice that offers therapy and coaching to young women of color. She can also be followed on Instagram here.
TikTok videos not playing for you? You might need to change the settings on your device — here's how.