Ep3: Face/Off

Maybe she was born with it..maybe it was Facetune

This week’s episode explores photoshopping culture including photo editing apps, face filters and more. Are filters the new digital makeup? How much is too much? What’s the digital etiquette around retouching group photos? Plus: Ancient Greek uni-brows, VSCO girls, and how a face filter was used to slut shame women.

  • Democratization of Tech: we’ll explore how our facetuning culture got started when apps put the power of retouching in the hands of consumers and how countries are using the law to fight back against unrealistic photographs.
  • New Social Norms: how has selfie-culture influenced social norms? In China for example, it’s considered rude to upload an image of a friend without editing it. Photoshopping apps are considered the final touches in putting our best foot (or face) forward.
  • VSCO girls are the first non-social network subculture to be associated with an app, and we explore the links between their aesthetic and the hyper-glam routines of beauty influencers.
  • Morals and tech: Finally, we’ll look at how values can be embedded in technology by its creators or projected onto technology by its users. Who gets to decide what a face filter represents? The people who made it? The people who use it? Or the people who see it? What will happen to our self-esteem when the “new normal” are faces that have been so manipulated that they’re no longer human?

Links Cited:

VSCO Girls — Extended Reading:



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Rahaf Harfoush

Digital Anthropologist. NYT Best Selling Author. Professor. Technology and Culture are my jam. #hustleandfloat