Recently I stumbled upon an article detailing the questions some Snapchat users have had regarding their famous filters- and whether or not they are trying to whitewash. Whitewashing is the purposeful retouching of something in order to make it resemble white people. This is included but not limited to: trying to make someone’s skin lighter, making their eyes blue, and slimming down their face/giving them European facial structures, all of which Snapchat filters are doing to people of color, the article argues.
Don’t believe me? Try out your Snapchat filters. Take before and after pictures and compare them. See a difference? The idea of whitewashing is prevalent in our society- from the scarcity of models of color to the idea of contouring your cheekbones and nose to make your features slimmer and more European. It’s very subtle, but is very insidious and, when you finally notice it, it is everywhere. Whitewashing comes from the idea that white people are the standard of beauty in the world, hence why people of color are less likely to be hired when submitting a headshot and resume, as well as why there are few models of color.
So how do we fix this? Clearly this is a widespread problem that just one article won’t impact. It’s a very complex situation we have on our hands. We have to consciously change our standard of what beauty is “supposed” to look like and greatly expand that definition. Everyone is, after all, beautiful.