Well, it's official: The selfie trend just jumped the shark. An app that promises to make you look 15 pounds skinnier in your selfies actually exists. SkinneePix costs 99 cents and uses an algorithm to make you appear 5, 10, or 15 pounds lighter. Its app store description reads, "SkinneePix makes you look and feel good. No one has to know. It's not complicated. It's our little secret."
Ouch. I know we're in the era of selfies, but why is an app like this even available? A recent British study shows that people who post a lot of photos on social media networks like Facebook have less supportive bonds with friends and family than those who don't, and another recently published study suggests that women post more selfies than men. That same study also showed that young girls post even more selfies than grown women. Plus, experts have attributed the rise in plastic surgery in people younger than 30 in part to the rise of selfie culture. And at a time when women are feeling more down about themselves than ever, an app that serves to make you look thinner just reinforces the ages-old idea that you should be striving to live up to an idealized version of women that doesn't exist.
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It's possible that there's an upside to this app: Some research does show that looking at an idealized version of yourself can temporarily boost your self-esteem (so if you're looking for a quick pick-me-up, checking out your own Facebook profile for a minute or two might help). The creators of the app, Susan Green and Robin J. Phillips, say they were inspired after hearing from friends that they were unhappy with how they looked in photos.
"All we heard people say was 'Delete that, don't you dare tag me in that, this is horrible.' After the last vacation, we were like, 'We can do something about this,'" Green told The Huffington Post. "You've always heard about the camera adding 15 pounds, we just wanted to level the playing field."
Still, I'm not really buying SkinneePix as a way to feel better about yourself or your looks. The best part about selfies is that they celebrate "regular" people (#nomakeupselfie, anyone?). They're not supposed to look perfect, so why do we need an app that just reinforces the idea that the skinny selfie is the best selfie?
What do you think? Would you use SkinneePix? Am I overthinking this one? Sound off in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!