A Letter to Snapchat About a Blatant Oversight With Your New Lenses
Dear Team Snapchat,
Firstly and before I start with the gist of my letter, please know I am a daily user of your app, and so are many of my friends and family members. Although I like what you have done with the app since it first launched, adding different filters followed by adding fun lenses, there is a point I feel compelled to raise here.
Most recently, while my 2-year-old niece and I were fiddling around with the new lenses you had introduced, and as I tried one of the new ones that alter face shapes and features, she pointed, saying, “Funny face!” My initial reaction was to giggle, but at that very second it struck me. I could not help but wonder, what if my niece ran into another child in public with features that resemble the ones the lenses gave her, be it the bigger nose, tinier eyes or longer or chubbier face? She will probably think it is funny, and god forbid point that out in public rather than accepting the person as another human being who is just like her. Should that happen, not only will it be insensitive, rude and downright offensive, but also harshly untrue.
Human beings come in different shapes and sizes and have diverse unique features. This is a fact of life and nature, and in my opinion, it is what makes the human species so wondrously beautiful, in that every person has his/her own uniqueness that cannot be replicated. Do not get me wrong, I love humor and good fun, and I love goofing around just like the next person, but there still remains a blatant oversight when it comes to these lenses. By poking fun at different facial features, we in a way endorse such negative perceptions that bring about resentment and intolerance toward anything that does not look aesthetically “appealing” based on linear mainstream standards of beauty, which in turn affect how we view differences in people and what we view as “acceptable” and “unacceptable.” Albeit the fact that the implications are for the most part subliminal, they still are serious in forming our subconscious reactions, which subsequently can make their way to our consciousness, affecting our understanding when it comes to concepts of inclusion, acceptance and body image as a whole.
Bottom line, I would hate for my niece to grow up with such a narrow perception of what beauty is or what it should be, and even worse, to act on it and frown at anything not fitting that one-dimensional perception. I, for one, will try my best to make sure she grows to see beautiful in all human beings, all creatures, everything, bringing out the best in them, which I believe is the kind of raw positivity all children innately possess, and if left untampered with, it will bring out their own beauty simultaneously as a result. And I would love the same for all other kids, to be able to see and accept beauty and colors and life in all its infinite shapes and forms.
Being a widespread platform at the palms of millions of people comes with a certain level of responsibility as to what and how it impacts the minds of those masses, and I have no doubt all of you at Team Snapchat realize that and continue to work on fulfilling those responsibilities toward humanity. That is why I would like to urge you to give your lenses a deeper second thought, and hopefully replace distasteful ones with others that can be quirky and funny without having a negative influence on us and our children.
This world needs acceptance, unity and love. Let’s all do our little part to achieve a better world collectively.
Just another Snapchatter
Follow this journey on Hopeful Cynic.