In today’s edition of news we can hardly believe is news: politically incorrect Snapchat filters. You would think that, following an April 20 debacle involving a face-altering algorithm designed to make users look more like Bob Marley (skin tone included, sigh) the social media platform would’ve learned its lesson. However, the app has once again come under fire for racially (and otherwise) insensitive feature-warping.
Was already upset @ snapchat for most it’s filters/lenses being whitewashing and how there’s that one that just subtly shrinks your nose
— A.J. Chaudhry (@SassyRaptor) April 21, 2016
Lol so they try put flowers on top of the face to distract from the fact that it’s a skin lightening feature
Snapchat you’re not slick
— Dan Soff [JOKUZA] (@Swagadore) May 8, 2016
Snapchat, I am very disturbed by the fact that your “beautification” filters make my skin lighter, and my nose and jaw smaller. Just saying.
— Allegra Clark (@SimplyAllegra) May 9, 2016
— Nicole Maxali (@NicoleMaxali) October 24, 2015
When Snapchat users select the app’s “beautifying” and “Coachella” filters, a disturbing sight meets their gaze. Pounds disappear from faces. Eyes shift into doe-like shapes. Cheekbones become more chiseled, noses more narrow. Bumps and blemishes are Photoshopped away — as is skin pigmentation. It’s implied that you are now a more stereotypically socially desirable version of your former self, despite the fact that your natural beauty has been whitewashed away.
When you consider the fact that a 2016 poll of 6,500 U.S. teens — Snapchat’s target demographic — revealed that 28 percent feel the app is the most relevant social network, the filters’ toxic subtext seems even more distasteful. Impressionable young adults don’t need any further reinforcement of society’s narrow beauty standards.
In response to the Bob Marley blackface controversy, Snap spokespeople said the filter was meant to provide users with “a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music.” Defenders of the whitewashing filters claim that the effects brighten all aspects of a photo (like a flash), not only skin tone. Quite a stretch. Others offer a solid (not) solution:
@SassyRaptor dont like it? dont use it. simple. those filters are not made for everyone. so please. dont use snapchat if it upsets you. FUCK
— ILIA BAKHSHI (@ElectronikFArts) May 18, 2016
The app has yet to respond to its disgruntled community members. Here’s hoping Snapchat takes meaningful strides towards recognizing its missteps and promoting body positivity and doesn’t counter with another band-aid statement that makes us want to vomit more than rainbows.
[ via Mashable ]