This New Snapchat Filter May Be Spreading the Wrong Message

posted: 06/09/16
by: Ashley Vazquez

Snapchat has always been the app where you can share silly selfies with friends: double chins, no makeup, tongues sticking out. Since its creation, Snapchat marketed itself as unfiltered and genuine. It provided an alternative to the overly edited, perfectly crafted photos and statuses that we see on Facebook and Instagram. These were pictures meant to be seen by your friends -- the real ones, not the Facebook ones.

A few months ago, Snapchat introduced filters that detect your facial features to add goofy animations, color washes and other various "lenses." Want to thrill your kid by transforming into an animated dog? No problem. You can even swap your face with your best friend, your baby, or even a photo of a celebrity. These filters change out every day, keeping users constantly checking back to see if any new ones have been added. They're fun, completely ridiculous, and totally harmless.

Or perhaps not TOTALLY harmless.

One filter seems to have become a permanent fixture. This a filter whose premise is simple: it makes you beautiful. Or, what Snapchat deems beautiful, anyway.

You watch in real time as the filter swipes across the screen like a magic wand. Instantly, your pimples, freckles, and scars vanish. Your skin is brightened and smoothened out. The dark spots under your eyes are glossed over, your eyes are widened, and eye color is brightened. Your nose becomes thinner, and your face is slimmed. Darker skinned ladies also see their skin become whiter.

This filter comes at a time when models and actresses are denouncing the overly photoshopped images of themselves in magazines, and even Alicia Keys has ditched the makeup in favor look that makes her feel "honestly beautiful."

The trouble with Snapchat's beautify filter is that it seems to be enforcing traditional beauty standards instead of embracing imperfections. Women have an infinite amount of retouching and editing apps available at their fingertips, but those require skillful editing and time to craft the perfect image to post on Instagram. Snapchat's filter does the work it for you, instantly and in real time.

You no longer have to compare yourself to perfectly airbrushed models in a magazine when you can compare yourself to the other you, the beautiful one.

Some young women are, understandably, a little freaked out by it.

It's interesting that some people (and brands) are telling us to embrace our flaws, yet others are helping us make them disappear. Do you think this filter is spreading the wrong message? What do you think of Snapchat's most infamous filter: Love it or hate it?