Ever since we were girls, we have been surrounded by pictures of perfectly photoshopped women, their skin flawless and their eyes impossibly bright.
Since so many of us feel pressure to meet these unachievable standards, it's no wonder we are constantly picking ourselves apart. A few women at the BuzzFeed office decided to reveal the facial "flaw" they were most insecure about and to find out what would happen when we removed it with photoshop. Would we feel better about ourselves? Or would we miss the unique quirks that make us us?
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.
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.
Kristin's feelings before: A weird insult I sometimes read about myself in the darker corners of the internet is that I look "flat-faced" — which is funny, because from the side, I feel like my brow, nose, and chin look really jagged, harsh, and severe! In fifth grade, I had a silhouette of my face traced on construction paper for a class project. When I got the tracing back, I was horrified by how much my brow appeared to jut out — so much so that while cutting out the tracing, I secretly trimmed the extra brow off my face. It's why I started wearing glasses over contacts as a kid; I hated how sunken my eyes looked, and seeing the visible shadow that my brow cast on my nose, and I figured glasses would fill in the gap. While I am obviously a much more confident adult now (and I love wearing glasses), I still do sometimes wonder if wearing glasses makes a difference.
Kristin's feelings on her photoshopped picture: WOW THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Never mind, I take it all back. Not only do I not look like myself anymore, but I almost feel a little guilty — my facial profile, I realize, is also my mother's facial profile, and came from her family before that. So erasing those features almost feels like I am erasing a part of my heritage. And now that I look at my before picture, I'm growing a little more fond of it — put that profile on the side of a coin!
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.
Kirsten's feelings on her photoshopped picture: HAHA. I look like Steve Buscemi as "Crazy Eyes," or maybe just Steve Buscemi as Steve Buscemi. Either way, I'm not digging it. The weirdest part is I look at this picture and I'm like: "Oh, maybe I should have changed my nose, or my jaw, etc., etc." As humans, I think we're constantly unsatisfied. There's nothing wrong with the original picture of me; it's actually a pretty nice photo. I think we're trained to pick ourselves apart and label the things that make us human as "flaws." But flaws aren't really flaws, they're just the unique details that make us us.
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.
Macey's feeling on her photoshopped picture: Not going to lie, I like certain aspects of my face better in the "after" photo, but I most certainly don't look real and being real is more important to me than looking like a fembot. Honestly, I've never looked more like a sex doll in my life. (Can I say that?) It's very disorienting to look at a perfectly symmetrical version of your face.
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 babydoll 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: You know what I realized? I like my cheeks. What I don't like are the people who constantly feel the need to point them out. Like, I know I look 12. Let's move on.
Casey: After seeing everyone's before-and-after pictures, it's absolutely crazy to me that they all think their flaws are flaws. I honestly didn't notice any of their "flaws" before they were pointed out. They're all beautiful. It's insane what we can find "wrong" with ourselves if we spend enough time looking for faults.
Kristin: Looking at everyone's pictures, it was basically impossible to tell the difference between the before and the after photos. So whenever I am feeling down, I'm going to back and remind myself that it was basically impossible to tell the difference between the before and after photos, and that worrying about something that's virtually invisible is silly.
Sheridan: Every time I get the inkling to go get it fixed I think about the future. If I have a daughter, I'd love to be able to look at her smile and realize it comes from me. Not everyone might find my smile beautiful — too much gums and some chipped action going on — but it's mine.
Kirsten: After looking at all the other women's photos, I realized 1. We see flaws in ourselves that virtually no one else really sees, and 2. Those flaws give us character. So with that said, I'll keep my non-Steve Buscemi eyes and all the other weird things that make me who I am.
Erin: The thing about Wednesday Addams is that beyond her eyes, I also related to her dry humor, and introversion, and desire to murder people — that's kind of what my dark circles helped convey, too. They give me a little more toughness, a little more "I've seen some shit"-ness. Yeah, I'm not sure I'd be friends with non-under–eye circle girl IRL.
Macey: I'll keep my asymmetrical face, thank you/bye.
Claire: After looking so long at my altered face it made me realize that if anyone is going to think less of me because I didn't win the genetic lottery then they can go eat a bag of dicks. It may take some time for me to be OK with my thin lips and that's perfectly alright.