I must admit, I don't use Snapchat much anymore. I'll log in on the weekends to make sure my friends aren't hanging out without me, promote blog posts and post a few drunken snaps here and there, nothing crazy. I fell out of love with the app after that update that we all hated, everything became an advertisement and we were being forced to watch "popular" accounts stories. I feel even more detached from it now after reflecting in August to a time where I felt like I wasn't 'pretty' enough with my God given face because I had become so accustomed to looking at it through face altering filters.
Snapchat filters launched in 2016, it definitely added a lot of appeal to App, stories are more 'interesting to look at' with GEO filters, colour filters, text and more. Snap's popular face filters were all seemingly harmless flower crowns, cute dogs and hilarious face swaps. We were never going to look like a cute little Elf in real life so why not play around with one for a few weeks. The use of these filters evolved when they created a filter that played on the insecurities of a lot of men and women. Previously titled 'The Pretty Filter' by me and my friends, it was a filter that made you look exactly like you but an airbrushed filtered version.
I felt like the motives behind the filters changed when they became an airbrushed mask that we could put on to feel better about ourselves. Now I don't want this post to seem more dramatic then it needs to be, Snapchat isn't plastic surgery, I know that but it's these kind of things that lead us and the younger generation to believe that we don't look good enough as ourselves and has added to the rise in plastic surgery. It's the overly airbrushed magazine covers all over again but instead we are altering ourselves and striving to achieve the same look in real life.
Let's talk about 'The Pretty Filter', It's the one that makes your noise a little skinnier, your face a slimmer and gives you an overall flawless finish. I loved it at first because it was more inconspicuous than the others, I didn't have to have a halo and angel wings to feel 'extra pretty'. Luckily the filter came with a blue hue over it so you couldn't fool anyone when using it.
A LITTLE OTT
I realised I was a little obsessed with them when I began using Snapchat filters for every single picture I took, not because I thought I didn't look good enough but because I thought I would look a little cuter with it on. Filters were on my selfies, family pictures and even my end of University picture with my lecturer - a moment I will never get back.
I only realised how excessive I became with them once I tried to take pictures without and I felt like I looked too chubby and ugly. I knew it was silly because I have had this face all of my life and I've never had a problem with it before but why would I stop when the App and filters were right there in front of me ready to use? No exaggeration every single picture I took for a good year had a Snapchat filter plastered over it. The trend was labelled 'Snapchat dysmorphia' and it proposed the idea that some people had blurred the line between reality and social media.
The filters heightened the idea of wanting to achieve unattainable beauty standards. According to reports people are asking their surgeons to A. look like their selfies and B. to look better in selfies. Selfies are supposed to be pictures we take of ourselves that assumingly look like ourselves, but now we altering them online and confusing social media followers about what is real and what is fake.
Over time Snapchat has created more 'pretty filters' and some became even harder to spot. I have a really hard time with knowing that young guys and girls are chasing to look like pictures that the person in the picture doesn't even look like themselves.
A SEAT WITH MYSELF
Starting this blog made me see a shift in the way I saw images online. I already knew the affects the filters were having but it wasn't until this time I was able to knock some sense into myself. Firstly, I needed new blog images and I knew I couldn't include glowing eyes, stars above my head and a Dalmatian filter. Would you take fashion and beauty advice from someone who wouldn't even show you their real filterless face?
I wanted me to look like me and I wanted my pictures to be real and relatable. When you see me in real life I wont be wearing brighter contact lenses, a flower reef and have a nose job, that's just the short of it #factsarefacts.
Why would I want to look like a deception and a bag of lies when I can own my flaws and be an advocate for self love.
Again, I don't want to seem like Snapchat filters are the greatest problem going on in the world right now but I always think about my approach to life as the advice I would give to my younger sister.
We were made to look exactly like how we are. Life would be boring if we all looked the same, I want to see some personality, I want to see your freckles, your real eye/skin colour because you were made perfectly.
This post is not to be mistaken, I don't hate filters and I do still use them but I no longer feel uncomfortable taking pictures that show off my regular round face. This also isn't a jab to anyone who uses Snapchat filters, just a reminder that you're beautiful without them too.
To answer the question I think Snapchat has added to an already existing problem. There has been unrealistic body and beauty standards for years. When I studied media everyone was blonde hair, blue eyes, slim frame, flawless skin. Cute for them but unachievable and undesirable for me thanks.
The fact that a 'fun app' has increased the number of people getting plastic surgery means that we aren't teaching self love enough, we aren't showing off enough diverse beautiful humans and we aren't doing enough as a nation, period.
I want to shed light whenever I can and remind everyone that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I wear makeup to enhance, play around and express myself when I want to but you best believe you'll find me with some face cream and vaseline running my errands Monday-Friday and this honest version of myself is the same one I want to portray online.
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