Snapchat is celebrating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo on International Women’s Day with a filter that lightens the skin of users.
Snapchat debuted three custom filters for the day, which is being marked in the United States with protests and strikes. The filters allows users to take self-portraits as Kahlo, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, or scientist Marie Curie.
But on a day to celebrate international feminism, Snapchat’s filters have raised some eyebrows.
The Frida Kahlo filter lightens a user’s skin and eyes and applies bright red lipstick, a floral headdress and braids, and the artist’s signature unibrow. The skin color change is particularly noticeable on faces with darker skin – as becomes apparent when Kahlo’s own self-portrait is put through the filter.
Kahlo, who was of mixed indigenous and European heritage, painted herself with brown skin and dark eyes. Much of her work engaged with indigenous themes and imagery.
The Kahlo filter is not the first time Snapchat has courted racial controversy with its filters.
In April 2016, the company debuted a Bob Marley filter many users decried as digital blackface. A few months later, the company faced a similar backlash over an anime-themed lens that transformed selfies into Asian caricatures with buck teeth.
The company has also faced criticism in the past over how “beauty” filters (as opposed to humorous filters, like dog ears) lighten the skin of people of color, raising questions about the standard of beauty the company is trying to promote.
Those beauty standards are also being questioned with one of the other International Women’s Day filters.
The filter for Nobel Prize-winning physicist and chemist applies smoky eye makeup and lengthens the eye lashes. Curie is best known for her groundbreaking research on radioactivity. She was awarded the Nobel Prize twice, once for chemistry and once for physics.
Snap Inc went public on 2 March, jumping to a market value of $28bn and turning its co-founders into billionaires. The stock price for the loss-making company has since fallen.
Snap has consistently refused to release statistics revealing the demographic diversity of its staff. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the filters.
This article was sourced from http://newsdefinition.com