I was first made aware of how women manipulate images of themselves when I dipped my toes into online dating well over a decade ago. I had one encounter where I was supposed to meet up with a total stunner. She had breathtaking pictures on her profile. What I got to see in real life, however, I found hard to stomach. Quite frankly, I got quite annoyed by that so I openly asked her if that kind of trickery normally works for her. In her boundless delusion, she told me that she does not know what I am talking about because what I had seen were “pictures of her”, conveniently leaving out the part where she heavily edits them. Of course, I was an “asshole” and “fickle” because I turned around and walked away.
In my naivety, I assumed the worst you could get via online dating are women who put up pictures of themselves that are a few years old or trickery with flattering angles, which was back then referred to as “MySpace angles”. Little did I know that there was a vanguard of women with a modicum of technical skills who used professional photo editing tools to make themselves look more appealing. A few years later, a girl I was dating introduced me to the next level. She was a bit of an airhead and probably could not have wrapped her head around using a complex tool like Photoshop. Yet, she gave me a primer on how to use the standard tools in Apple OSX to make her pictures look better. Using contrast and blurs did not really impress me, but she knew how to give herself a virtual tan with a few mouse clicks. I found that quite remarkable. Nowadays, this is standard.
What the current crop of apps is able to do is nothing compared to any of that. They essentially provide women with the power of Photoshop but make it accessible to the computer-illiterate generation that is only able to move their thumb across a touch screen. There are apps like FaceTune, which turn an ugly duckling into a princess. Besides improving skin tone or removing blemishes, women can now reshape their entire face with ease: bigger eyes, fuller lips, narrower chin, smaller nose? It’s all just a few clicks away. Similar features can also be found in popular apps like Snapchat.
But wait, it gets worse: there are now cameras that automatically enhance people’s faces. It’s in-built and happens automatically. This now leads to an entirely new problem: real-life video manipulation. We are moving towards a world in which how people, in particular women, live in two, no three, entirely different spheres. Sphere one is what they really look like, sphere 2 is what they look like with makeup on, and sphere 3 is their virtual avatar for social media that has looks nothing like them. You should see this in action, so I’d like you to watch two brief videos.
Here is a video covering the basic features of the first version of FaceTune. This was the status quo of mass market apps in 2013. The later versions of their apps can do a lot more, like turning women from a 7 to a 9 in real-time with ease. A complete moron could do it.
Now watch the same happening in HD video and in real time. It’s a relatively ugly dude that transforms into a young Chad, shaving a solid 15 years off his looks and giving him a big bump in sexual market value. If you are pressed for time, watch around ten seconds from 2:30 onward:
The new reality is a fake one. I predict that if the situation gets a lot worse, online dating will take a serious hit. Of course, from a wider societal perspective, there are other implications. It could well be that women manipulating pictures and videos of themselves will lead to men getting evermore disappointed and prefer to beat their meat to entirely virtual women instead because if you’re only dealing with fake women, then why not go for completely virtual ones?
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