Alright ladies and gents, I will be the first to admit that Snapchat filters give my ego a little boost. I can be sitting at home with no makeup on and open Snapchat to find myself looking like a fairy princess with oddly glistening skin. Yet, I recently came across a video by New York Times contributors Amanda Hess and Shane O’Neill where they break down their opinion on the ugly and unhealthy aspect of Snapchat filters.
Before watching the video I had no negative feelings towards this app. No part of me thought I was engaging in a false reality that was skewing my own self-confidence. I saw it as a fun and quite honestly, stupid way to entertain myself. Who doesn’t think turning their face into a creature with five eyes is entertaining?
So, I watched the video and did some further investigation. There are hundreds of articles on this issue, all of which pose a good point.
I get it now.
As a woman in today’s society, I can say that we are put under tough scrutiny and expectations of beauty. As a white woman, I can recognize the whitewashing of the beauty industry and lack of diversity within it. With all of that said, most of the filters Snapchat design tend to lighten your skin, slim down your face, make your eyes bigger and nose smaller. We now have the ability to give ourselves a virtual plastic surgery makeover with no stitches or credit card transactions.
Do I prefer my face when it’s slimmed down? Yes, of course. Is it healthy to take photos of myself with a filter that adjusts my individual features to fit the designer’s idea of beauty? No, it’s not. These filters seem like an innocent and silly pleasure on the surface but when you pick them apart, there’s nothing innocent about promoting an altered and skewed self-image. There are enough pressures today without Snapchat’s seemingly friendly reminder that our faces aren’t perfectly proportional. Photoshop and manipulating images have long been a controversial topic between the public and the media. Although companies like Aerie have developed campaigns that promote a healthy body image and REAL women, are things like Snapchat filters allowing the public to manipulate their own photos without even realizing the cognitive effects of doing so?
I won’t promote a boycott of Snapchat and the many filters that don’t do any of these things. Is there anything wrong with turning yourself into a full-faced tiger or creepy creature from whatever new scary movie is coming out next? I doubt it.
BUT, we do need to remember that beauty is created with diversity, not masks of similarity or a crown of flowers.
*Disclaimer: I had to search my boyfriend’s phone long and hard to find these photos. I didn’t save each Snapchat of myself I’ve ever taken LOL.