It’s no news that facial aging “pranks” are a hit on social media. In 2019, FaceApp, an application that alters a person’s face to see how they will look as they age, topped the list of downloads in virtual stores around the world. You and your friends must have already played the “aging game”, right? Who doesn’t love pictures of young celebrities looking like they are from the 70’s or 80’s? Who hasn’t commented on images of possible older versions of famous women like Sabrina Sato and Xuxa? When Xuxa posted, she also mocked the frequent criticisms of her “old” appearance: “Guys, I decided not to take photos with filters on anymore. That’s me, at least that’s how many people see me.”
Now, with the new fever of “I want to see how old I will be” on social networks, many questions have arisen about the privacy and data collection of users of the “joke”. Is it dangerous to give applications our personal information, such as photos, locations and pages visited on the Internet? What can companies do with our personal data?
Newspaper Earth An article published on July 11, 2023 with the headline: “Kylie Jenner disapproves of image while using aging filter and fans calm her down: ‘Don’t worry, you have money'”. Kylie showed off her aging face in a Tik Tok video, saying: “I don’t like it. I don’t like any of it, no.”
Some followers commented: “You can pay to fix it, it’ll be fine… Now, imagine us humans, without money, working 12 hours a day. We have a problem.” What would Kylie need to “pay to fix”? If you’re keen enough to watch the video, you’ll notice that the images of the 25-year-old today and yesterday are very similar, with far fewer wrinkles and signs of aging.
Recently in reality show kardashianIn 2010, Kylie confessed that she regrets altering her face and multiple cosmetic procedures: “I don’t want my daughter to do the things I did”. I remembered Kylie’s regret when, on July 18, 2023, a journalist from Germany asked me several questions about my research on female maturation in Brazil. What caught my attention the most were questions about the use (and misuse) of apps and filters on social networks and their potential impact on female aging.
How might the use of these filters and apps affect women’s views about aging, for better or worse? What positive or negative effects can these artificial images have on a woman’s aging? Who wins and who loses by “getting old games”? Are the use (and misuse) of filters and apps creating new prisons for women by reproducing prejudices, stereotypes and stigma about aging? What are the consequences of using filters and apps to reinforce ageism?
I found these questions so thought provoking that I decided to post some questions on my Instagram profile. I received nearly 300 comments from women interested in debating this topic. The most curious thing was to see the polarization between those who are in favor of the use of filters and applications and those who are against. Half said they are worried and fearful because they believe their data could be used by companies without authorization. The other half replied that all discoveries can be used for both good and bad, and that we cannot (and should not) stop the progress of new technologies.
Many of the women said they had no idea that, with the “old game”, they were providing valuable and confidential information to the databases of companies whose sole purpose was to sell their products. And he asked, “Can we talk more about this?”
Researchers, scholars and scientists around the world are trying to answer these questions. More than the polarization of controversies caused by the use of filters and apps, or the hasty adoption of one side or the other, it’s time to talk more deeply about the potential consequences of “aging games.” Let’s talk more about this shall we?