Wellness Blogger Calls Out Samsung Phones for Assuming Everyone Wants a Good ‘Beautifying’

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(Photo: Instagram/iammelwells)

“I hope young girls are buying iPhones instead of Samsungs,” wrote wellness blogger and former soap opera star Mel Wells after taking her first selfie with her new phone and discovering that it had decided to offer her face an unsolicited “upgrade” in the form of a heavy dose of Photoshop.

Wells, who has written extensively about her experiences with bulimia and disordered eating during her time as an actress, was horrified to take her first selfie and see a “perfected” version of herself staring back at her. Her freckles were gone, what few lines she had at the age of 26 were blurred away, and her face had been smoothed just past the brink of looking human. She hadn’t asked the phone to do that. That was it’s default setting.

“Wow Samsung,” she wrote. “When you get a brand new phone and go to take a selfie and realise that the default setting on the front camera is automatically on “Beauty level 8” which evidently means: seriously airbrushed face. This means everyone who gets a new Samsung phone and flicks the front camera on is automatically being told “Hi, we’re Samsung and we think you look way better when we automatically airbrush your selfies for you, x 8!!” “

This ticks me off, too. I love a good filter as much as the next person — I love the way Snapchat’s French Maid filter makes me look all sexy and Kardashian-ified and use it almost as much as I use the “I am a panting cartoon dog” filter — but it’s messed up for that to be the default phone option.

Of course a person can turn off the filter if they want to, but that’s not the point. It’s messed up to automatically assume that a person needs or wants “fixing,” and that’s just another addition to the noise that constantly tells us that we have to be flawless–even freckless–to be acceptable.

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(Wells with her actual face, left, and Wells as seen through her phone’s default setting, right. Photo: Instagram/iammelwells)

“It’s one thing for us the consumer to decide to edit our photo after its been taken,” Wells wrote, “but it’s another thing for the manufacturer to do it for us before we’ve even taken the shot. The more we are told that we are supposed to look flawless, the more unhappy we will feel in our own skin – because none of us are flawless! On the contrary – it is our imperfections that make us most beautiful. Social media comparison has a massive impact on anxiety levels in young people and half the problem is we are being presented with flawless airbrushed photos constantly.””

This stuff bugs me a whole lot more since I had a baby girl. I mean, me and my own beauty and body-image issues are basically a done deal at this point. But my daughter is still a fresh slate, and it infuriates me to think that she could look at her picture, see something like this, and think, “Oh gosh. I guess I could be prettier, if I looked like that.”

At first this just annoyed me. Now I want to kick a table. I don’t think there’s a way for a person to get through this life without absorbing lessons about the primacy of physical beauty, but do they have to come from everywhere? Why would your phone make this offer as the default?

Besides which, it’s exceedingly impolite. Spanx and plastic surgery both exist for people to purchase if they so desire, but offering it unsolicited is just rude. If someone mailed you an unwanted pair of Spanx, you’d probably be like, “WTF are you trying to say, random Spanx-sender?” If you sent your mom a picture and she “corrected” it and sent it back, you’d probably say, “WTF, mom?”