San Francisco, California — Responding to consumer demand, Instagram has released a filter that transforms any garbage can like yourself into a swan whose life isn’t a flaming mess.
Rather than providing airbrushed skin and twinkly eyes, the filter shows a version of you that’s well-rested, attending therapy regularly, and eating full meals that aren’t from a box.
Explaining the filter’s origins, Instagram Creative Director Maud Deitch said, “Focus-group participants wanted proof that a put-together version of themselves could exist. Given that everyone is barely hanging on right now, it was nearly impossible to find a sample of a healthy person to base my filter on. Creating this filter was by far my hardest challenge to date.”
In the weeks following the filter’s release date in January 2022, many users reported positive experiences. One user in particular, 24-year-old Leah Peretti, described how the filter improved her life.
“I sent my mom a photo of ‘the new me.’ She called me seconds after to tell me how proud she was of my ‘journey’. In reality, I had vomited from too many Totino’s pizza rolls five minutes before I took the photo and hadn’t even cleaned up yet. I had vomit caked on my shirt in the photo, but the filter had me in a cleanly pressed blouse. This filter is beyond spectacular.”
Despite the initial responses, though, the filter’s success was short-lived. Within weeks, many users reported feeling too much pressure to maintain what they saw as an unattainable image.
30-year-old Sophie Heller said that the filter actually had the opposite effect and lowered her confidence.
“I didn’t recognize myself,” said Heller from inside her Toyota Camry as it was being towed to the junkyard. “Society doesn’t need more unrealistic ideals. I actually hope the filter gets discontinued.”
However, Instagram plans to roll out a new feature in response to the best-self filter to balance things out. Reportedly, it will add another filter intensifying your worst qualities to make you appreciate that things are not as bad as they could be. One prospective user commented, “I’m excited to see a version of myself in which I’m completely destitute.”