Highlighted by Heather Parish

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Editing apps like FaceTune exist to streamline everything that comes after the snap; the serious work of preparing an image for gallery viewing. FaceTune features a powerful arsenal of editing tools: you can fuzz out blemishes, whiten teeth, add a dewy soft-focus like a smear of Vaseline on the lens, brighten your eyes, hollow your jowls. This is where selfies start to get more controversial: if, in 2015, we agree that it is blurry feminism (at best) to Photoshop celebrities beyond recognition on magazine covers, then why are we comfortable erasing our own perceived imperfections? If selfies are about warts-and-all self-acceptance, what message does it send when we don’t show the warts? I understand these fears, but also would argue that using a personal Photoshop machine doesn’t necessarily present the same grand-scale self-esteem attack that glossy magazine covers do. Celebrities and models never have final approval on their covers; but selfie-takers own the entire publicity machine: you take the shot, you edit the shot, you publish the shot. All the artifice is in your hands, and that can feel like power. FaceTune, and other apps like it, are a way of playing, of gaming your face. They let you you tweak and shade, paint and polish. They let you pick out your favorite features and highlight them. They let you art direct your own portrait, sending viewers’ eyeballs to precise locations on your face. Some people see editing apps as a way to hide behind magic wands, but I see them as very public declarations of a common human hunger: to be seen in the light you want to be seen in. It’s your selfie party; cry in sepia tone if you want to.