[LONGFORM] MY PERSONAL CRUSADE AGAINST SNAPCHAT FILTERS THAT PROMOTE UNHEALTHY BODY IMAGE STANDARDS

I get it, sometimes it's fun to have fun and not care, but in the coming age of digital omnipotence, it's no longer going to be a question of what we can and cannot do, but rather what we should or should not do.
  1. You may or may not be aware, but of the face lens features on snapchat, there are several that morph your face shape. sometimes this is done for comedic or specific effect (ex. to emulate a rotund Italian chef, etc.)
  2. HOWEVER there are several face lens filters that just make your face skinnier, and do a sort of light airbrushing effect to remove blemishes, age lines, etc., with no real reason behind the effect (e.g. the "pretty" filter, the luau filter, the Coachella filter, and the infamous puppy filter, to name a few).
  3. I grew up fairly lean, white, upper middle class, straight, and male. A veritable royal flush of privilege, and I STILL had a million body image and self esteem issues to work through (most of which I'm still dealing with on some level)
  4. So while I don't claim to know everything (just the opposite, in fact), one thing that I feel very strongly about is that people should start by loving and embracing themselves for who they are and where they are in life and what they are.
  5. If you want to be skinny, great! It's your body and your call, you should look how you want within healthy limits for your body (no eating disorders, please). But if that's really a goal of yours, make safe eating and healthy workouts a priority for yourself, don't just slap a filter on and call it a day.
  6. Snapchat forcibly including the "skinny-ing" effect in several of its "cool" lenses (like the exotic locales or the "cutest" animals) is only reinforcing the idea that to be desirable or popular means to be skinny, blemish-free, etc. and the simple fact is that most humans (models included) are just not built to conform to those standards of beauty
  7. People see overly-photoshopped models and freak out at the offending organizations (and rightfully so), but how much more reach does a social media platform like snapchat have than a Victoria's Secret catalogue? (sidenote: remember catalogues? lol) And how much more responsibility do they have than an organization selling unrealistic beauty?
  8. Dog ears and a tongue? I love it. Fun flower crowns for you and a friend? I'm all about it. But don't tell me and my mom and my sister and my (hopefully someday) wife and everyone else who already have so much false beauty propaganda slung at them that on top of it all, they can't even have a safe space on a silly snapchat with friends.
  9. If it's not your cause, I get it, there are bigger and better things to rally against in the world. But I don't see sex trafficking, hate crimes, or bigger offenses 40 times a day. What I do see is a hundred puppy dog filters telling me subtly that I'd be *just* that much more attractive if I was skinner, prettier.
  10. So if you want, join me in not using those filters (my guess is you already know which ones they are, and if not, I'm willing to bet you'll notice them now). I'm not militant about this, I'm generally focused on being a fun, sociable guy; and I'm still an active snapchat user who gets a lot of enjoyment from the app and interactions it encourages.
  11. But maybe, just maybe, it would be that much better if we all quietly took a stand and said, "Hey, you don't have to be 'pretty' to be fun." And if there are cute dogs of all shapes and sizes, doesn't it stand to reason that all shapes and sizes of human are just as lovable? Call me overly idealistic, but I think so.
  12. Thanks for reading if you stuck with it this long, and if the puppy filter is your fave, please know I'm not bashing you or trying to ruin your good time. I just want to see us hold ourselves to the same standards we hold corporations and publications, et al.
  13. I love and value all of you just as you are, and I want to see you all improve and become the best possible versions of yourselves. Thanks for letting me rant, and now back to the jokes. John Mayer relisted me a couple of times, I'm hilarious.
  14. xoxo, Dustin