I don’t miss Snapchat. At all. And for lots of reasons. But one of them is the same reason that a Verily editor who recently wrote about Snapchat is sick of the app: some of its filters “Photoshop” your dang face.
In one swipe, my face was transformed to standards that the fashion and beauty industry has been pushing for decades: wide eyes, a petite nose, a thinner face, and a crystal clear complexion. I felt, in a word, ugly.
The filters she decries can be defended as “for fun.” But they are also disguises that reinforce the lies that the shapes of our faces and eyes, the tones and types of our skin, should align with a set of standards that human bodies don’t naturally meet.
When I had Snapchat, those filters tempted me daily not to like what I see when I look at a mirror because mirrors don’t have filters. Mirrors don’t widen my eyes or hide the dark circles beneath them. Mirrors don’t even my skin tone or dull the shine that shows up on my face by the end of the day. Mirrors don’t blur the lines you find on your face after you’ve lived (and laughed) for 30 years.
Which is sad, because it’s ok for your eye and face shapes and your skin tones and types to be whatever they are but easy to disagree with that when a Snapchat filter shows you how else you could look — how you’d look if your face were Photoshopped.
And it feels good, because it takes your face and makes it new.
Until, if you’re me, you delete it on a whim and in its wake, walk from room to room, filling your phone’s photo album with pictures of your own face, muttering stuff like “I used to be photogenic!” and “There’s no good lightning here for a selfie!”
Which is the nonsense you concoct because you forgot how you actually look.
Because you’ve forgotten again that what the filters actually do is exactly what Snapchat wants them to do: keep people tethered to Snapchat.
I’m glad today that we don’t have to be.