Opinion: BeReal makes me feel like I need to BeFake


Credit: Katya Luzarraga

WSPN’s Katya Luzarraga discusses the negative aspects of always “being real.”

Katya Luzarraga

Social media revolves around presenting a perfect version of your life, no matter the detriment to your mental health. It’s a vicious cycle. Yet, here we are, with another social media that’s going to trick teenagers into being the most “real” versions of themselves. Sorry to break it to you, BeReal, but we all know, your users are not “being real.”

The newest social media platform is called BeReal. Although it was released in 2020, the French social media app gained momentum in 2022 by marketing towards college students in the U.K and U.S.. Now, BeReal is a staple app for many young adults, and its reach is only expanding.

The purpose of BeReal is to create authentic social media. The platform’s slogan is “Your friends for real.” There’s no more face-tuning, filtering or cropping your life to create a perfect version of yourself. The app sends you a notification at a random time during the day, and you need to snap a quick pic of yourself in the two minutes after the notification goes off. Even if you miss the notification by a couple minutes, when your picture is posted, it’s labeled as late.

BeReal utilizes both the front and back of your camera, so you can’t fabricate where you are. Of course, this was probably the most creative and ingenious thing I’ve ever seen on a social media app. I applaud the creators because they knew: people like to lie. I’m exhausted of seeing the same filter on back-to-back posts and the notion that your feed needs to have a “theme” to it.

Which is why I was elated when BeReal came out.

Over the summer, my TikTok “For You” page became flooded with moments captured by BeReal. The intrigue kicked in, and I wanted to see what this app was about. It was free and easy to use. It seemed too good to be true.

Being able to post moments of my day where I didn’t feel pressure to have on a full face of makeup or a cute outfit felt liberating. I’d take a BeReal, and moments later I’d see what all my friends were doing. It felt refreshing to be connected by something so genuine, so raw, when all my life I’ve put up a façade.

Then, the appeal of sending in pictures of what I was doing every single day began to eat at me. It’s been hardwired into my brain to constantly present myself as collected and “perfect” to the public eye. Now, an app wanted to completely throw out the rule book?

While some users are posting photos of themselves at parties or in exotic locations all year round, the reality for most teenagers and young adults is that they’re still in school. You can only post a BeReal of yourself slouching over homework with a messy bun so many times. Then, the reality sets in: BeReal highlights the fact that your life isn’t a movie.

Our generation grew up with iconic high school movies like the High School Musical series, Teen Beach Movie, Sixteen Candles, Mean Girls and The Lizzie McGuire Movie, among other films. I know these barely make a dent in the plethora of shows and movies that shaped your unrealistic expectations for high school life, but you get the idea.

BeReal contributes to the gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re not doing enough in your life. You compare your candid moments to those of your friends, and somehow you feel even more defeated. You overcompensate in the two minute window that you have to take a BeReal that’s captivating enough to garner a reaction from friends. Instead of trying to alter your photos to reflect your idyllic life, like on Instagram, you’re stressing yourself out in the moment to put on a façade for the public on BeReal.

The app might’ve been a step in the right direction, but it still has those hidden aspects of social media that are addicting, yet with a smaller dosage. Being real all the time is intimidating, especially for more introverted teenagers. Nothing highlights the crippling impact of being left out quite like seeing all your friends out at a party while you’re at home.

At this point, you’re not even being real when you take your BeReals. Not only does the app allow you to take a photo up to 24 hours after the notification, but it also gives you an unlimited amount of retakes. It’s not an accurate depiction of someone’s life. What’s the point of even having BeReal if you’re going to choose when you post?

It’s this generation’s problem now to present their lives the way they want to. If that means taking picturesque, attractive photos of themselves to satisfy their expectations of perfection, then go ahead. Posing in front of a camera, no matter how candid you are, is not “being real.” BeReal has failed in my eyes.