When Joanna Fay Schmid, a 16-year-old student in Singapore, first saw her face inverted through a TikTok filter, she was immediately reduced to a crying mess.“Seeing people do the trend and still look as beautiful as they did before, but not feeling that way about myself when I did it, messed me up quite a bit,” Joanna told VICE. “It definitely did affect my self-image and self-esteem a lot.”
Comments on TikTok, both positive and negative, fan the flames of insecurity surrounding this filter. Liu pointed out that comments praising TikTokers with very symmetrical faces add to popularizing a “nearly impossible ideal” of beauty. “I think the challenge has created a new insecurity for people who now believe that they have to be symmetrical to be beautiful, which is definitely not true,” Liu added.
“The fact that facial symmetry was basically the whole goal of the trend made me really self-conscious.”
Meanwhile, Joanna said that on top of the initial shock at seeing her inverted face, some of the comments she received were “super hurtful.” She has since disabled comments on the TikTok video featuring her reaction to the filter.The truth is, we’re no strangers to this seemingly random beauty standard, much like how some have pitted themselves against one another by the problematic standards of trends like wrapping earphones around their waists and balancing lipsticks on their collarbones. Now, we’re just caught in a new competition of how little our heads can quiver as our phone screens flip-flop at lightning speed.
“I think the challenge has created a new insecurity for people who now believe that they have to be symmetrical to be beautiful, which is definitely not true.”