Demi Lovato Posted a "Friendly Reminder" That Instagram Filters Are Dangerous

"How are teens supposed to learn to accept themselves?"

by Mary Kate McGrath
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

Many celebrities want to dismantle toxic beauty standards, and Demi Lovato is the latest star to call out Instagram filters for perpetuating unrealistic expectations among impressionable users. Lovato shared a brief filter-infused Instagram video on Feb. 28, demonstrating how the technology warps your face and ultimately your self-image and captioning the post with "open fully for a friendly reminder."

Lovato's video included several text overlays, with the biggest one saying, "unrealistic beauty expectations [with] these filters got me like," as she demonstrated the filter. The singer went on to show all the ways the filter altered her appearance, such as "these aren't my real eyes" and "my skin is not this smooth" and "wait do I need a smaller nose?" The singer, who just last year released a self-empowerment anthem titled "I Love Me," also wanted to hold herself accountable for using filters in the past: "Thank god I'm realizing this now and I'm sorry for using them w/o realizing how dangerous they were before."

The Tell Me You Love Me singer expressed concern about how teenagers will be impacted by Instagram filters by writing, "Thank God these weren't around when I was 13." She emphasized how damaging the technology can be and asked, "How are teens supposed to learn to accept themselves with this sh*t?"

The filters, which are also available on TikTok, often adhere to Euro-centric beauty standards that are both unrealistic and often racist. Additionally, filters have contributed to a fixation on appearing "perfect" and an uptick in filter-inspired plastic surgery, with some experts concerned the technology is encouraging people to make unnecessary changes to their appearance or develop body dysmorphia, according to CNN.

Lovato isn't the first celebrity to express concern about Instagram filters. In January, Good Place star Jameela Jamil called out a hair color-changing filter that was popular on Instagram. "So this filter made my hair pink but also my nose thinner, my lips bigger and my eyes more slanted? Also. Ridiculous skin. Very glad I didn't grow up with filters."

In 2019, Lili Reinhart criticized a photo-editing app called BodyTune, which makes users' bodies appear slimmer. "This is why people develop eating disorders. This is why social media has become hazardous to our health," she wrote in her Instagram Story. "This is why people have unrealistic expectations of their bodies. I implore you: do not use these apps."