Dear Team Snapchat,
Firstly and before I start with the gist of my letter, please know that 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 something that I feel compelled to raise here.
Most recently, while my two-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 and – for the lack of a better term, “deform” 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 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 or, again for lack of a better term, “deformities” (I hate that word!), we in a way endorse such negative perceptions that bring about resentment and intolerance towards 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 very serious in forming our subconscious reactions which subsequently can make their way to our consciousness, affecting our understandings when it comes to concepts of inclusions, 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 that does not fit that one dimensional perception. I for one will try my best to make sure that 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 for all other kids the same, to be able to always see and accept beauty and colors and life in all its infinite shapes and forms.
Being a widespread platform that is 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 that all of you at Team Snapchat realize that and continue to strive fulfill those responsibilities towards humanity, which 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, lets all do our little part to collectively achieve a better world.
Just another Snapchatter