Atlas Magazine - Submissions Based Fashion Magazine The Problem with Snapchat's New Filter 1

The Problem with Snapchat’s New Filter

Snapchat Flatlay by Olivia Bossert for Atlas Magazine

Retouching is pretty much assumed of a lot of the images we consume on a daily basis. Magazines, advertisements, blogs, even “candid” paparazzi photos are retouched most of the time. We’re consuming perfection at eye level no matter where we go. This is expected and what we consider to be the norm now. So, I’m going to put it bluntly: is it so much to ask not to have my friends retouched, too?

Snapchat is a safe space where I could send chins upon chins upon chins, makeup-less mornings, and videos of Chipotle tacos with ‘You Sexy Thing’ playing in the background. It’s a platform where my friends and I can share candid moments and be ourselves without worrying about the amount of ‘likes’ we get, or who might be looking at it… it’s a place to be as real as you can be when it comes to social media in 2015.

Amongst Snapchat’s terrific and advanced new filters comes one that I take issue with–– the realtime retouching filter. In a time where we’re working towards positive self image, why are we promoting these glossed over, altered, magazine-ideal images of ourselves?

The new filters Snapchat’s added are totally just for fun, and I’m behind them 100%–– friends can send silly pictures with bear ears, or underwater, or whatever the filters of the day are. Whoever added this filter I’m sure didn’t have the intentions of potentially prodding at the self esteem of its users. But… really?!

Glossing over my pimples and skin, changing the shape of my nose, making my eyes wider, pushing in my cheek bones–– it’s all the standards we take issue with in modern beauty retouching. How many people are going to use that filter and end up feeling that’s what they should be looking like? That those impossible standards are what they should be living up to in an environment so casual as Snapchat?

When retouching standards are being fought back against in even the places they’re expected, it seems like a regressive addition to Snapchat’s exciting new technology. Celebrities are fighting the same treatment publicly. Lorde reminded us all on Twitter of the extreme prevalence of retouching, showing her unretouched concert photos and reminding us that “flaws are ok”. Lady Gaga put Glamour magazine in the hot seat after an overly-airbrushed cover shot.

In an app with over 100 million daily active users–– the majority of that user base being millennials who have enough pressure put on them to be #flawless–– are these same standards the ones we want to be reminded of when maybe we just want to have a little fun and be ourselves? I don’t want to see the perfections that I could have. Save the smoothed skin for… well, for literally anywhere else.

By Megan Breukelman