I have a great appreciation for makeup. I don’t wear much of it myself but I can appreciate the artistry behind enhancing one’s natural beauty. I’ve long been suspicious about the practice of contouring one’s face. It seemed like everyone was trying to make their noses appear smaller. It always left me feeling unsettled. For the most part, smaller noses are associated with Europeans and their standard of beauty. I’ve never seen anyone, in any makeup tutorial, contour their face to make the bridge of their nose appear wider.
Always more narrow.
But again, I don’t know how to do anything even remotely close to that, so it never really concerned me. What does concern me though? Snapchat. I vowed that I was too old for Snapchat, convinced that it was merely a way for high school kids to sext each other without lasting proof. But this past Christmas after watching my sister fall in love with the app and hanging out with my younger cousins, I decided to download it too. Peer pressure. And as my family members predicted, I actually do like the app. It’s a nice way to communicate quickly with video. It’s good for moments you want to capture but not necessarily have associated with your profile forever.
And the filters are really fun to play with. I morphed myself into a panda and talked to my sister on my commute home. I transformed into an alien and sang a lyric from a Nicki Minaj song. My little cousin chatted me and said she didn’t recognize me. Perhaps most impressively, my sister and I swapped faces and spoke with each other’s lips. Crazy, fun stuff.
Late last year, the app introduced a new filter. “Beauty.”
When I applied the filter to one of my pictures (above) my face came out looking at tad weird. My sister’s before and after photos are better representations of what it’s supposed to do.
Like the name suggests, it’s supposed to make your pictures appear more beautiful. Even though it’s been out for “a while” in pop culture terms, having just downloaded the app after New Year’s Day, it’s new to me. The beauty filter does a few things. It clears your skin. (Thanks.), elongates your face, makes your eyes appear wider (Sometimes a bit too wide.), pushes your lips together, and, you guessed it, contours both the bridge of your nose and the nostrils.
So as you might assume the same concerns I have about contouring with makeup, I have with this beauty filter. Expect a bit more heightened as young, very impressionable children and young adults are using the application. It’s not very healthy for any child but especially not Black children whose features are often dismissed or degraded when it comes to mainstream beauty standards. I wonder will something as seemingly innocent as a filter be yet another way young girls find faults and flaws in their natural appearances. Will it make them want to chop and screw their nose temporarily (like Porsha Stewart) or permanently like so many other artists, actors and entertainers out here? There used to be a huge push for magazines to stop doing so much retouching to photos because young girls were comparing themselves to those false, unattainable images. What type of damage will looking at your own altered image do to your psyche and self esteem?