Anyone who currently has and utilises the app that is Snapchat will know EXACTLY what I mean by the 'pretty' filters. When Snapchat first hit the social media scene, I point-blank refused to understand and embrace the concept. I didn't get it at all. What the hell is the point in taking a picture that stays on someone's screen for 7 seconds then disappears into the abyss? Apart from the obvious 'dodgy', x-rated operations (not from experience FYI), I just didn't understand why or how there would ever be a place for this on the social spectrum. However, the way that Snapchat has evolved over the past two years has really been nothing short of revolutionary for social media. It's gone from an app that totally mirrors what it says on the tin, to what I can only describe as some kind of mystifying, marginally twisted and relatively outlandish photo-based game. It's a game! A photo game. A game you can play with photos which requires very little effort and contributes a wide variety of uses, not to mention hours of laughs with your mates because actually, it can be quite funny. I've created some cracking videos using a combination of the 'chubby cheeks' filter, my best Mancunian accent (I'm not Mancunian. I don't know why I can do that accent) and a recurring story about a cream pie, whatever a cream pie actually is these days! Possibly some of best work I've done in life to date. No lies.
Alongside the stupid filters (the filters I'd say I probably favour) is a whole array of beautifying filters, designed to eradicate the biggest pimples, slim those shnozzers and brighten up the sleepiest of peepers! You've got the mystical 'butterfly head' filter, the 'flower garland' and the most famous of all, the 'MAKEOVER' filter. The 'makeover' filter is so popular, that girls actually just use it now to take 'selfies' and pretend that that's what they actually look like. I mean, this must be a nightmare for all the hopeful lads on Tinder. Men are hardly the most observant of creatures (no offence) so it's unlikely that they will look at that picture of a so-called 'worldie' and think, 'that's that Snapchat filter that is!'. Nah. Not likely.
So down to the real point here, what is Snapchat honestly doing to our self-esteem? In my experience, girls who take loads of selfies tend to be the most insecure (and the most beautiful oddly enough. Just in my experience!). Surely, when these girls discover that they can make themselves look even more beautiful using Snapchat, the Snapchat filter becomes their 'normal' no? Because I'm telling you, those filters are a dream. I've had a go. They are GREAT. You could apply for Vicky's Secret (funny because the Founder of Snappy is marrying one!) with a Snapchat filtered 'selfeh', but when you take the filter off you're instantly greeted with a tired-looking, feel-sorry-for-yourself, full-day in the office mug. It's hardly inspiring is it?
Is Snapchat just teaching us to disregard our true appearance in favour of a beauty fantasy? Are we becoming desensitised to what's real and what's fake and how far will it go?
Researchers have found connections between Photoshop manipulation and self-esteem, eating disorders and self hatred. What starts as an innocently “beautiful” photo becomes problematic to all those seeing it. Now, imagine the perfect one is you and not some undersize Ralph Lauren model in a print ad. Like every kind of social media, Snapchat is a company with its own agenda. It wants to flatter and persuade you to keep using it, but has no obligation to tell you the truth or take responsibility.