Can We Stop It With These Photo Editing Apps?

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Another day, another self confidence-destroying photo editing app. This time, it’s called Spring, and it promises to make you taller and thinner — in your full-body selfies, that is. To be fair, I can imagine some creatively-minded people coming up with some hilarious uses for it beyond its original intentions (6-foot-tall pet iguana, anyone?) … but is anyone else kind of sick of all these weird photo manipulation apps?

Here’s the deal: According to Spring’s description in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store, the app aims to “adjust your body proportions” so that “your body looks sexier”; the goal is to make you “look like a model.” It works by picking three points on your body and using them as landmarks, stretching the photo so that you stay relatively in proportion (no Gumby-like goofs). It also claims the photo manipulation won’t be detectible, although as PetaPixel points out that when it’s applied, “the background also gets slightly adjusted, which could make for some awkward ‘Photoshop’ fails if you’re not careful.”

For the curious, here’s what it looks like in action, starring one of the few body shots I have on my phone. First, the original photo:

Second, the edited one:

And just for good measure, here are the two of them side by side.

Well, I’m undoubtedly thinner, with a tiny, wasp-like waist; I am also, however, intensely weirded out.

Although Spring is far from the first app of its kind — remember Skinneepix, the one that tells users it can shave up to 15 pounds off your selfie? How about Beauty Mirror, that terrifying plastic surgery app? — but good gravy, can we stop it with them already? All they’re doing is enforcing arbitrary beauty standards and making us feel bad about our socially perceived shortcomings. Plus, I just can’t figure out why so many app developers need them in the first place. If, say, you want to make yourself look taller in your online dating profile, what’s going to happen when you meet up with your potential matches in real life? If you apply it to all your vacation photos, you’re not left with fun memories — you’re left with false memories. What’s the point?

At a little over 5 feet tall, I’m almost certainly Spring’s target audience; furthermore, as you can see in the example up top, it does work fairly well. But if I hadn’t volunteered myself as a guinea pig for the purposes of this post, I definitely wouldn’t have downloaded it. There are few things scummier than capitalizing on people’s insecurities for fun and profit. So, here’s a message to app developers everywhere: Can we stop it with these kinds of “tools?” They may not seem that malicious, but all they’re doing is hurting us. We don’t need to make ourselves taller or thinner, or shrink our noses or adjust our cheekbones. We look great already. Stop telling us otherwise.

Images: Lucia Peters (3)