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Image / Editorial

Molly Mae’s Instagram tutorial shows how much effort goes into the typical selfie these days


by Erin Lindsay
16th Apr 2020
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Ex-Love Islander and influencer extraordinaire Molly Mae Hague has detailed the process behind her meticulous Instagram — but is Facetuning really the devil app we all believe it to be?


In a time where many of us have defaulted to a less-than-presentable state (I haven’t done my hair or dressed in anything other than joggers for about three weeks now), the idea of getting dolled up for a selfie session is not exactly top of our to-do lists. But the world of the influencer never sleeps (although it may be getting tired during this current pandemic), as bloggers and Instagrammers maintain their picture-perfect aesthetics every day as if their lives depended on it (which, financially, they kind of do).

Molly Mae Hague, on first look, is the epitome of a woman whose career lies on Instagram. Always impeccably turned out, Hague’s IG Story-ready friendly demeanor and ever-updated wardrobe makes her an aspiring influencer’s perfect blueprint. And to make it even easier, Hague offers her insights and tips and tricks to the masses too.

On her YouTube channel, Hague recently posted a video detailing the process she goes through to post a photo on Instagram. “Just point, shoot and upload”, I hear you say? You must not be on Instagram. Hague’s 15-minute explainer talks the viewer through lighting, props, angles, and of course, the all-important editing process. As Hague takes us through editing apps (including the infamous Facetune), we get a stark insight into just how much effort goes into the life of an influencer, and the ethics behind this newly covetable career.

The conversation about editing photos online has been long fought. We all know it’s less than ideal to portray a false image of yourself to young, impressionable gazes, but as Molly Mae points out (as reductive as it may be), “everyone does it.” And she’s right. It is not a nice fact, but a fact nonetheless — girls learn to edit, smooth and perfect their photos long before they learn about taxes or how to cook a dinner these days. And honing a skill in editing photos does have its benefits — Molly Mae has secured lucrative deals with clothing websites, has her own line of fake tan and has recently hit 4 million followers on Instagram.

But although it is outrageous and maddening for mothers and guardians to see their younger counterparts’ body images contorted in this way, the phrase ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game’ definitely applies here. The answer to the Facetune issue of our time is not to berate the women using the app, as many often do (and we all know the possible tragic outcomes that this can have). The conversation needs to turn outwards from the ones indulging in this trend, towards bigger questions that are harder to answer.

Why does this trend exist? Why do girls edit their photos so much? What are the psychological effects of doing it? Is there a way for it to be done healthily? After all, as we know, there is no stopping girls from Facetuning if that’s what they want to do — just like there’s no stopping make-up, or short skirts, or any of the other clichéd feminine coming-of-age traditions that we’ve been up against over the years. The main issue is not whether girls can, or should, Facetune their photos — the issue is whether they can Facetune on Instagram, but be equally comfortable with their face without it.

It’s a realisation that similarly came to me when internally debating the issue of make-up. I don’t wear a lot of it, mostly because my skin reacts badly to it, and so I’ve grown very used to my face sans slap. Of course, there’s plenty I’d like to change about my physical appearance, and I love playing with make-up to give myself a new look. But overall, I’m fairly comfortable with my make-up-free face — I don’t shy away from seeing it in the mirror, and I’m very happy to go out and about daily without anything covering it. But I know this is not the case for other women — they have become dependent on make-up, to the point that it is not a fun creative outlet, but a necessity, without which, their daily lives, and daily mental health, would be severely disrupted.

It’s like everything else — too much of anything is bad news. Once it stops being fun, something has to change. Make-up and Facetuning are just different points on the same spectrum — and as long as women are having fun, are self-aware and are as comfortable with themselves bare-faced and in the flesh as they are on Instagram, then there doesn’t have to be a problem. Problems only arise when we believe beauty begins on Instagram — true beauty extends beyond.


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