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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

My fellow Snapchatters are aware that a new function was added to the app within the last month or two, in which the app recognizes your facial features. After holding down your finger over your face, the app picks up on it and presents you with filter options. These have always been fun or silly things like hearts popping out of your eyes, bubbles appearing around you, lasers shooting out of your eyes, or the yellow mask that, personally, scares me. The filters will come and go (somehow the yellow mask has stayed), keeping users curious to check for new ones. However, I came across a new filter that I hate even more than the yellow mask.

This new filter makes you “prettier”. No, that is not a joke. The filter scans across your face and shows you as it makes changes. These changes include enhancing colors, smoothing over the face, and altering shapes. The first time I tried the filter, I was in disbelief. I did it a few more times to make sure I wasn’t making up the edits. I was able to capture a screenshot [seen below] while the filter was halfway though, to see the differences side by side. Looking at the comparison, I can see the differences instantly.  My eye shape is different, and the color much more blue. My skin is a different tone and less pale. The subtle freckles on my nose and under my eyes have been smoothed over. I was left wondering why this filter is even option.

The edits Snapchat made were not edits I wanted. Going through the filters, I tried this effect not knowing what it’s outcome would be. I was forced, so to speak, to see the edited me. That’s the worst part. This was thrust upon me. Perhaps even worse, I actually thought I looked prettier. And I most certainly can’t be the only Snapchatter who thought their appearance improved. This leaves me thinking how detrimental it must be to users, especially when Snapchat appeals to a younger audience. 

Self image edited with the filter

Snapchat has become a mainstream form of communication, and now we can edit ourselves to conform to the unrealistic societal expectation of beauty. This only encourages those unrealistic expectations to continue, and promotes individuals to be overly critical of their appearance. Especially as a means of communication, the impact of this stretches to all those receiving the edited Snap as well.  Our society is teaching us to edit ourselves to be desirable, and that is damaging to our mental health. We do not need to look like society’s definition of flawless. I am honestly disgusted at the filter option, and embarrassed for Snapchat for supplying it. I hope the majority of users who came across the filter were equally as put off, and did not use it. Most of all, I hope we can become a society that stops projecting this message, particularly onto women, that we need to edit ourselves to be beautiful.

Self image without the filter

Thank you for the suggestions, Snapchat, but no thank you. I like my freckles.

Elisabeth (Liz) Staal is a student at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA, majoring in English, Communications and minoring in Music-Theatre and Psychology. She relates to Audrey Hepburn and Leslie Knope, and is a pun enthusiast. She has a passion for service, and producing a positive influence on the world to create change. You can follow her on Twitter @estaal15
Sammy is a senior at Emmanuel College, majoring in English: Communications & Media Studies with a minor in Music-Theater. She discovered Her Campus through College Fashion Week: Boston, and has since re-launched Emmanuel's chapter and become a National Intern. On campus, Sammy gives weekly tours as an Admissions Ambassador, is a member of the Honors Program and stars in an as many theatrical productions as possible. She was also an Orientation Leader for the Class of 2019. Outside of school, she works as a sales associate at Charlotte Russe and manages a personal style blog called Backyard Beauty. An obsessive organizer, social media addict and fashion maven, Sammy dreams of living a lavish life as a magazine contributor in New York City after graduation. Follow her on Twitter @sammysays19 and Instagram @backyardbeautyxo or visit backyardbeautyxo.tumblr.com/.