Trigger warning: This article will talk about body image, mental health, racism, etc. Please do not proceed to read it if any of those is a trigger for you. Take care.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way, I don’t hate snapchat. I actually love snapchat. It’s fun, adorable, and keeps me connected. I even love the occasional filter snapchat releases, like the funny ones and some of the pretty ones too. But I have a huge issue with some of the filters that are actually a constant on Snapchat and a favorite too.
There’s the flower crown filter. I really liked it at first because it was so pretty. But then I realized the ugly truth behind it. It was promoting ideas of body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia is a mental illness involving obssessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance. This filter not only whitens my skin tone as if there’s something wrong with my natural skin tone, but it also distorts my face and its proportions to give me a look that doesn’t feel like my own face anymore. It gives me light eyes, high cheekbones, a significantly thinner structure, and a chiseled jaw bone. Here’s the thing: I don’t want all that. I’m perfectly content with the way my face looks as it is. So why is Snapchat hellbent on infiltrating my mind with a distorted and unhealthy body image? There are more filters like this.
I’d like to mention one more. The seemingly peach-toned filter that wants to make me look like a runway model. This filter makes my eyes 3 times bigger than their actual size, my cheeks sunk in and my lips bigger. I don’t want to look like a runway Model everyday, Snapchat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with runway models. I love Irina Shayk, Neelam Gill, etc., but I do think it’s wrong to assume that everyone wants to be thin. Let people be happy with the body they have. Social media platforms that are as popular as Snapchat should be extremely careful about not promoting unhealthy ideals, problematic concepts. Most importantly, though: stop trivializing mental index.
Stop acting like it’s okay for a person of color to whiten their skin tone. Stop acting like it’s okay to convince a person who’s happy with their body type to lose weight if they don’t want to. It’s high time snapchat took responsibility for their actions. We’ve had these filters for more than a year now. And a lot of young people are on Snapchat. It’s wrong to internalize them with such attitudes. Please promote healthy attitudes about body image and mental health. Don’t be ignorant about a serious problem that is as bad as a physical illness.
Encouraging problematic ideas of skin whitening and having eurocentric features (high cheekbones, light eyes, defined jaw, big lips, etc.) is damaging the mental health of our youth. So… Snapchat… it’ll be awesome if you removed those problematic filters soon. Or at least alter them to appreciate our natural beauties and not distort our faces? Thanks.