Asst. Opinions Editor
Snapchat is probably most famous for its ability to make any face sprout flower crowns, dog ears, hearts, or anything you can imagine.
But what’s most appealing about these filters is not that it makes us look like dogs or puts pretty flowers in our hair. It’s how it enhances our faces.
In a single tap, our skin is smooth, clear, and airbrushed. Our eyes are bag- and wrinkle-free, sparkling, and wide. Lips are plump and pink. Cheeks chub-free and jawlines prominent. We can even give ourselves freckles.
By simply holding down a button, anyone can have ‘the perfect selfie.’
When my friends convinced me to download the app in eighth grade, I finally felt I had the opportunity to be as beautiful and popular as the other girls in my grade after years of viewing myself as the fat loser.
I found a spot with good lighting, opened the filter menu, and posed. Unlike my real camera, it took only one or two takes to find an angle I loved because every filter, even the less serious ones, followed my face, washing out my imperfections.
As the likes poured in, I was an angel. It was the first time anyone commented on how pretty I looked.
What was next? Would my crush pass me a note, asking me to the school dance?
Probably not, because when I stared at my reflection in a mirror, I did not look like an angel.
I looked like the same ugly Emily whose chubby left cheek was covered in acne scars, right eye drooped from terrible vision, and who couldn’t smile with her big buck teeth.
Without a Snapchat filter, I wouldn’t appear on social media because then I ran the risk of my peers validating my ugliness as soon as they stopped liking my posts.
I was not surprised to find I am not the only one who struggled with their self-esteem while using Snapchat. According to Everyday Health and Psychology Today, many young people are now seeking plastic surgery to look more like their Snapchat-filtered selfies.
The Guardian reports that 55 percent of facial plastic surgeons say patients have requested cosmetic procedures to look better on social media.
Snapchat filters constantly remind us how our ‘flaws’ and ‘average’ faces are not what’s preferred by handing us ‘better,’ completely photoshopped versions of ourselves every time we open the app. Then, when the manufactured beauty goes away, all we can focus on is what’s “wrong” with our faces.
People already face challenges to their self-esteem when they watch movies and scroll through social media. They don’t need another reminder that the face God gave them is considered “less than” by the standards the media determined.
The filters instill the idea that there is only one definition of beautiful that everyone must achieve. With big round eyes and poreless skin, everyone is just as attractive as the next, but no one wants to show off the original features that make them, them.
It was only this year, when my friends started forcing me into filtered pictures, that I realized how strange I looked and that I preferred not just mine, but everyone’s faces through a plain lens.
I want to see you. Not the creation of some programmer.
Dimples, buck teeth, thin lips, chubby cheeks – you are beautiful however you are.
Some may argue filters give people a chance to achieve conventional beauty that we should strive to attain.
Of course we all have an idea of what conventional beauty looks like because of movies and models, but they spend hours behind the camera perfecting their bodies and faces with air brush, Photoshop and makeup.
Many of them participate in unnecessary facial surgery – breaking their noses and cheekbones and filling their faces with Botox to obtain symmetry.
People try to expose stars’ ‘ugliness’ and ‘grossness’ in “no makeup” photos they snag oT the streets, but what the photos really prove is that they’re common people like us.
Conventional beauty is just invented beauty.
No one needs facial surgery or eyes as big as a Bratz doll to be beautiful.
Fortunately, Snapchat’s idea of “beauty” is far from mine.