Were Snapchat filters ever not a thing? If there was, almost no one would be able to remember. Those filters that we all have undoubtedly used and loved are always changing. Recently, Snapchat is facing some criticism for one of their newer filters. This filter appears to lighten the whole picture while also lightening peoples' natural skin tone and eye color. Additionally, it evens out "blemishes". Critics of the filter have said that it essentially whitewashes a user's face.
This is not the first time a Snapchat filter has upset people. Back in April, many users were offended after Snapchat released a Bob Marley Filter on 4/20 ("Informal Marijuana Holiday") to commemorate him. The filter gave users brown skin, dreads and a hat like the ones the famous reggae singer once wore and was only available that day. Immediately, people began to say that the filter was a digitalized version of blackface...Yikes!
Unfortunately, a lot of other people think that those who are upset about Snapchat's newest filter are overreacting. I think just the opposite. We live in a world that is constantly and pushing us to achieve an "ideal image" of beauty, an image that mainstream media has created and perpetuated. One way to achieve this "ideal image" is to have lighter skin. Though there are more conscious efforts to change this by having more diverse representation in our media, the narrative that many people have heard and seen via all forms of media is, the lighter you are the more prettier you are somehow which is just not the truth...When people see this idea being reflected, (whether intended or not) in one of their favorite apps or any type of media, they should react.
If you're like me or know someone like me, you've probably used this filter a gazillion times and noticed the difference in your complexion but you liked the way the filter made you look. You might of even questioned if it was wrong to like the way you appeared or brushed it off because you felt some type of awkward internal conflict. Why is that?
For example, I am proud to be a woman of color and love my melanin-filled skin. Yet, this "pretty filter" upon further use and examination makes me feel entangled in a web of disempowerment and perpetuation. If I use that filter I am making a statement that my natural complexion and facial features are not pretty enough... I don't really like how that sounds; it takes me to a dark place filled with low confidence in myself and that's not me anymore.
I do however, like the sound of me blasting Beyonce's "Formation" and celebrating all my unfiltered features. Cause I SLAY and so do YOU!