How to maintain beauty filters to maintain colorism against people with darker skin
Amy Niu examines self-editing behavior as part of her PhD in psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 2019, she conducted a study to determine what effect beauty filters have on self-image for American and Chinese women. He took photos of 325 women who were in college and, without telling them, applied a filter to some of the photos. He then surveyed the women to measure their emotion and self-confidence if they saw the edited or unedited photo. Her results, which have not yet been published, found that Chinese women who viewed the edited photos felt better about themselves, while American women ( 87% of whites) have felt the same whether their photo was edited or not.
Niu believes the results show many differences between cultures when it comes to “beauty standards and how easily people reach out to beauty filters.” He added, “Technology companies know this, and they make different versions [of their filters] to adapt to the needs of different groups of people. ”
It has some obvious manifestations. Niu, a Chinese woman living in America, uses both TikTok and Douyin, the Chinese version (both made by the same company, and shares many of the same looks, though not the same texture). .) Both apps both have “beautification” ways, but they are different: Chinese users are given more severe smoothing and smoothing effects on the skin.
He says the differences don’t just reflect the patterns of cultural beauty – they perpetuate them. White Americans prefer filters that can lighten their skin tone, whiten teeth, and eyelashes, while Chinese women prefer filters that make their skin lighter.
Niu is concerned that the proliferation of filtered images has made beauty standards more consistent over time, especially among Chinese women. “In China, the standard of beauty is more homogeneous,” he says, adding that the filters “erase a lot of the diversity on our faces” and reinforce a specific look.
Amira Adawe observed a similar dynamic in the way young women of color used social media filters. Adawe is the founder and managing director of Beautywell, a Minnesota -based nonprofit that aims to curb colorism and skin lightening practices. The organization runs programs to educate young women of color about online safety, healthy digital behavior, and the dangers of physical skin irritation.