Snapchat, as well as most other social media networks on the internet celebrated International Women's Day in their own way: Facebook had a live stream showcase of successful women around the globe, Twitter made a "women" sign appear after typing in the official hashtag, and google featured a slideshow that highlighted women's rights movements.
Unfortunately, Snapchat's glitzy new filters backfired on them as users expressed their disdain over the representation of three iconic women: Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, and Frida Kahlo.
Cnet noted that the Marie Curie filter shows users surrounded with beaks and test tubes that fume up - to represent of course, her contribution in chemistry. However, Snapchat's tribute to the chemist faced backlash for "taking cosmetic liberties," showing her with smoky eyeliner and long lashes. Users have said that the makeover is not only unnecessary, but the chemistry surrounding Curie is both historically and scientifically inaccurate.
Snapchat reportedly partnered with Parks's and Kahlo's estates to help hornor their legacies through the filters and theirs were more successful than that of Curie's who had no estates to speak of. The Parks filter sported her iconic glasses, hat and hairstyle, while the Kahlo one gives people a thick set of eyebrows, red lips and a floral headband.
While these things are representations of the activist and the artist, the backlash came from Snapchat's choice of eye and skin colors, and people accused the company of whitewashing, as neither of them had light eyes nor light skin: Rosa Parks was black, while Frida Kahlo was of mixed indigenous and European heritage - although she painted herself with brown skin and dark eyes.
This is not the first time Snapchat faced such controversies. According to the Guardian, they also faced racial controversy last year when they debuted a Bob Marley filter that was decried as digital blackface, and again a few months later when they had anime-themed filters that transformed users into Asian caricatures with buck teeth.
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