When a Snapchat Filter Mimicked My Medical Condition

This week Snapchat came out with a bunch of new morphing filters, one of which gives the impression of one-sided facial paralysis — a head-desk moment for those of us who actually have facial paralysis. Besides the more obvious question to me of why it’s entertaining to send morphed photos of yourself to friends, it also comes back to the fact that it’s supposed to be funny, and that differences in appearance aren’t inherently funny or things to be gawked at.

Appearance differences are kind of a strange medical condition to have. You skirt the line between the disability community and “passing” — but neither are quite right. Appearance differences without other impairments aren’t quite embraced as disabilities by some, and since they aren’t thought of as a protected class, perhaps it’s not seen as in poor taste to do things like presenting facial paralysis as a funny and weird thing you can try on. (Now, by no means am I against humor. Check out some of David Roche‘s material about facial differences.)

I don’t think Snapchat will remove the filter, so all I can hope for is that people start to think a little bit before using it. Some great organizations are working towards that goal, and I’m looking forward to what they are able to achieve.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe your experience of not quite fitting under one specific diagnosis or a label your community identifies with. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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