What started off as a way to send a harmless and entertaining picture to a friend soon morphed into something much bigger. Snapchat filters have taken over the land of social media and social media influencers. We have all have seen them. We have all have used them, and we are all obsessed with them.
Snapchat filters have turned from a casual way to alter a photo into a crutch for self-confidence that people lean on and Snapchat has taken advantage of. Snapchat's once popular filters that turned you into a caricature or a robot have been exchanged for filters that smooth skin, enlarge eyes and slim the nose. The new and improved filters can be seen on celebrities from Kylie Jenner to makeup influencers such as Huda Beauty.
It is no longer about exchanging laughs, it's about exchanging photos of perfection.
Our generation's newsfeed is inundated with images of beauty and perfection more than others because we are now a part of this self-reproducing cycle. Beautiful celebrities already made up and surgically filled in are extenuating their features further with the virtual reality of real-time Snapchat filters that create the illusion of porcelain skin and doe eyes.
We wonder why our friends, family members, and children are struggling to discover a solid foundation of self-confidence when we look past the obvious barriers. Editing and image distortion is no longer a tool left to the professionals. An app as accessible as Snapchat can provide a world of false images that can leave our youth feeling inferior and destroying self-esteem before it had a chance to take root.
When their favorite celebrities and role models are all using the filters it seems like the norm when in reality it is anything but. We are raising our children in an age of social media in a world where nothing is real, editing is the standard, and natural is unacceptable.
In an age when teens are spending nearly nine-hours on social media sites, it is essential that we are creating an environment that fosters self-love and growth rather than one of insecurity. How can we expect teens to go out into the world and become individuals when they are growing up in an environment where the acceptable lies within a realm not even within their reach?
The Snapchat filer phenomenon has reached such heights that a celebrity doctor, Dr. Esho, has coined the term "Snapchat Dysmorphia." People now are moving away from the obsession with photos of surgically altered celebrities and increasingly bringing in filtered photos of themselves to go under the knife.
Snapchat filters are so readily available and so commonly used that people are getting used to the way that they look with the filters on and long for the look without the need for technology. Whether it is to increase self- confidence for a moment in time, boost likes on social media platforms, or achieve flawless features, all of the reasons behind turning to plastic surgery can have negative lasting mental repercussions.
Snapchat filters seem to be harmless on the surface, but in reality, they are only adding to society's issues with body dysmorphia, social media presence, and obsession with perfection.
Just the other day I was sending a Snapchat to a friend, but I didn't have any makeup on- a scenario that any typical teen faces. Instinctively, I felt that I needed to cover up or quickly swipe on a Snapchat filter to keep up my appearance. It sounds so shallow looking back but this is how our generation thinks. Young women are programmed to believe that we are not adequate the way that we are.
This mentality has to change. Social media needs to change, and we have to be the ones to change it. By feeding into the cycle of self-doubt and insecurity by using Snapchat filters we are one step further to creating a generation after us that believes it isn't okay to love yourself as you are.
We have to be the role models for our younger siblings, our family members, and our future children.
Let's ditch the Snapchat filters and stop the positive feedback loop of self-hate. One small step can have lasting impacts on future generations.