Featured Issues

Snapchat Filters and Self-Love: Are They Helping or Hurting?

By:Ayanda Gigaba (@agigaba)

It’s no mystery why certain Snapchat filters are more popular than others. The humorous face warping filters, animal voice-converting filters and the neglected colour sketch filter all pale in comparison to Snapchat’s beautifying filters. Certain filters come and go but the fine technical engineers at Snapchat have offered us a longstanding staple of flower and butterfly crowns that make us irresistible to ourselves.

The common denominators of these filters raise my suspicion to the type of beauty that Snapchat is endorsing. That faux glimmer in the eyes, the subtle makeup that creates contoured cheekbones, the standardized lip thickness/thinness of add-on lipstick and a significantly lighter complexion in the pursuit blemish-free skin seems to accommodate only some.

When I first decided to don the Snapchat flower crown, I fell in love with the altered version of myself that flashed on my phone’s screen. I couldn’t wait to post my picture on Twitter and contribute to the self-celebration hash tags. I believe that ‘selfies’ are more than just a bit of candid fun because the process of self-documentation is a form of self-validation.

Snapchat filter selfies have been a tool in self-love movements for black people around the world. Hash tags like #BlackOut, #MelaninMonday and #CarefreeBlackGirl selfies serve as affirmations to black people who have been excluded from the dominant beauty aesthetic.

I started to prefer the altered images of myself and felt almost naked without a filter. My dark brown eyes felt like menacing voids—black holes that threatened to suck the life out of anyone unfortunate enough to stumble upon my unaltered image—without the dreamy film. My skin with it pimples, scars, oiliness and uneven tones was a tell-tale sign that my melanin didn’t pop in a specifically appealing way.

My unfiltered selfies made me uncomfortable. Instead of the butterflies that one expects to feel when learning to self-love, I felt a sinking heaviness in my stomach. Pride glowed on the surface of my digitally lightened skin while shame fluttered about on the inside. A subconscious desire, that I once denied, had been fulfilled in the snap of a finger.

It dawned on me that I had never taken the politics of colourism seriously. Colourism is something that happens over there in the U.S.  where they spell colour with no ‘u’. I was reluctant to think about how the implications of it manifested in my life. How could I, a black South African girl, experience this racially internal warring between light skin and dark skin while I live in a majority black country? Surely black is black is black, right? I dismissed colourism as a discourse that speaks more urgently to black people in the diaspora.

I was familiar with it from a formal, academic and distant perspective. According to the Oxford Dictionary, colourism is the prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. I think that dictionary definitions are served half-cooked when it comes to the nuances of racial discourse. So here is the other half: colourism is also the bias in favour of individuals with a lighter skin tone because of their suggested proximity to ‘whiteness’. This bias was achieved by colonialism and how the colonial project psychologically positioned the white race as ‘superior’ through centuries of violent subjugation.

Dark skin has had little to no social currency throughout history because of the negative stereotypes that were imposed on it. My beef with Snapchat is that the filters we praise for ‘giving us life’ covertly uphold whiteness as the standard of beauty.

We see this in the physical proportions and features that are catered to when the filters are digitally applied to the face. At first I excused the badly matched lip thinness and skin related effects but as the beautifying filters became more refined, the lip and skin standards didn’t follow suit.

As an educated young black woman, I thought that the ability to detect the sinister presence of the colourism hierarchy at work in popular media and culture would be enough to safeguard my mind. I mean I’ve read think pieces, academic journals, and watched countless documentaries and vlog posts about the subject.

But my critical eye worked from 9 to 5  and I underestimated the power of the residual messages of the day. Messages boldly proclaimed that someone with my hue of melanin in the wide colour spectrum was simply undesirable in comparison to the celebrated melanin hues. These messages have been whispered in the ears of black women since childhood.

However, Snapchat’s filters are not my central concern but it was my interactions with the app that brought it to my attention that my self-love practices were steeped in a warped perception of me. Of course I have the option to not participate in these filters because I feel they misrepresent my image but I’m caught in a trap between knowledge and feelings. I know I should love myself as I am but I can’t deny that I feel beautiful with the add-ons, touch-ups and lightening.

I’ll admit that I have an obscene number of flower crown selfies on my camera roll that fill me with pride but I need to balance out my self-love. There’s no doubt we all feel beautiful with these filters, but we should be critical about how much love and praise we give to different versions of ourselves.

Leave a Reply

36 Comments on "Snapchat Filters and Self-Love: Are They Helping or Hurting?"

Leave a Comment

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
2 months 27 days ago

Hi, I’m Diane C. Brown. I read your articles. I am interested to your blog tips. It’s very helpful. I was familiar with it from a formal, academic and distant perspective. According to the Oxford Dictionary, colourism is the prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. I think that dictionary definitions are served half-cooked when it comes to the nuances of racial discourse. So here is the other half: colourism is also the bias in favour of individuals with a lighter skin tone because of their suggested… Read more »

2 months 25 days ago

Balmain Jeans Sale

That is really interesting, Youre an excessively professional blogger Ive joined your rss feed and sit up for in search of extra of your fantastic post Additionally, Ive shared your website in my social networks!

2 months 22 days ago

discount marmot outlet

Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, thankyou .

2 months 21 days ago

ecco shoes outlet

You have actually created some exceptional points here. I specifically appreciate the way you’ve been able to stick so much thought into a relatively short post (comparitively) which creates it an thoughtful publish on your subject. In my opinion, you…

2 months 19 days ago

armani collezioni sale

So Great! I need some infos in this post for my rapport de stage. Can i have your contact please? I need your permission to quote it :D. Anyway, That’s great job. Keep going.

2 months 18 days ago

factory michael kors outlet

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.

2 months 16 days ago

cheap barbour jackets

Considerably, this post is really the sweetest on this notable topic. I harmonise with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your incoming updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the phenomenal clarity in your writing. I w…

2 months 9 days ago

michael kors outlet

Excellent read, I simply passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on that. And he truly purchased me lunch as a result of I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! Anyway, in my language, there should not a…

2 months 7 days ago

mulberry handbags for cheap

I had this page saved a while previously but my computer crashed. I have since gotten a new one and it took me a while to find this! I also really like the template though.

2 months 6 days ago

north face outlet orlando

Whereas this topic will be very vexed for most people, my view is that there needs to be a middle or widespread ground that all of us can find. I do worth that you simply抳e added pertinent and clever commentary here although, a lot appreciated. Thank…

2 months 4 days ago

cheap oakley sale

I keep listening to the rumor lecture about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

2 months 2 days ago

north face for cheap

Wonderful solutions.Id like to suggest taking a look at such as something like cheeseburger. What do you think?

2 months 20 hours ago

toms shoes outlet

I think this post is 100% true. Can i put this information in my blog?

1 month 21 days ago

emu online store

ng the people!

1 month 20 days ago

coach – outlet online

alfredo-4D6589AA@fireden.netjavier-4D6589AA@fireden.netSometimes seeing another person’s point of light enlighten my very own vision. I’m not going to going to say what everybody else has already stated, however i must say, I cant believe how a lot o…


barbour outlet store locations

We meet many people everyday in our life. We all struggle everyday try to be someone that good to other people life too. We need to appreciate all the people that we met everyday in our life.

1 month 16 days ago

cheap roger vivier

Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my site something like that. Can I take a portion of your post to my website?

1 month 16 days ago

callaway outlet

I am normally hunting for notice. This article gets me thinking. put you in my favorites

1 month 13 days ago

patagonia black friday

Can I make a suggestion? I believe youve obtained something good here. But what should you added a pair links to a page that backs up what youre saying? Or possibly you could give us one thing to look at, one thing that may connect what youre saying to…

1 month 12 days ago

north face jackets sale

Why do people praise Obama like he is usually a God?!?!?!?!?

1 month 9 days ago

shop karen millen

We have Junk Car Removal Services!


… [Trackback]

[…] Find More here|Find More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 91922 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: myblackmatters.com/snapchat-filters-and-self-love-are-they-helping-or-hurting/ […]

1 month 6 days ago

montblanc fountain pen

I just wanted to develop a quick message so as to say thanks to you for the marvelous ideas you are sharing on this website. My long internet lookup has at the end of the day been honored with professional points to write about with my contacts. I d te…

1 month 2 days ago

jimmy choo sale boots

Thank you for the fascinating check out, its not a subject I usually give much attention too but this caught my attention.

1 month 1 day ago

cheap Lafuma sale

Thanks for taking the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If potential, as you achieve expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra data? This can be very useful for me.


north face factory outlet online

Hi. Magnificent job. I did not expect this on a friday night. This is a terrific story. Thanks!


Mountain Hardwear store online

very good article thanks for the info

23 days 14 hours ago

emu shoes sale

Hi, I saw a three of your attention-grabbing posted posts and needed to ask when you can be curious about reciprocal pages? Team have blog about alexis texas ass! Anyway, in my language, there should not a lot good source like this.

19 days 19 hours ago

vibram sale

Thanks for share very nice info. Your weblog could be very goodI am impressed by the information you have got on this blog. It shows how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more. You, my good friend, ROCK! I d…

16 days 2 hours ago

lk bennett shoes outlet

Hello! My buddy told me something like fotokopi toneri or toner or maybe kartu, do you know what does it mean? Laters!

12 days 12 hours ago

patagonia in store sale

A semen volume analysis examines some characteristics of a males semen fluid volume and the amount of sperm found in the semen fluid. It may be done while investigating a couples infertility or after a vasectomy to make sure that the procedure was succ…

12 days 10 hours ago

buy Lafuma jackets

I just signed up to your websites rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

9 days 6 hours ago

balmain silver jeans

neighbouring then Cyrine Goutam Rafael montrose catanzano swimmin moonstruck

5 days 17 hours ago

shop lk outlets

I am going to go ahead and save this page for my sis for a coming up study project for class. This is a pretty website by the way. Where do you get a hold the theme for this webpage?

2 days 2 hours ago

emu shoes sale

Weight loss tips and free help and advice to help you loose weight fast in a healthy and natural way.

1 day 17 hours ago

discount fjallraven jackets

I believe I should mind my manners.