Remember when Snapchat filters were all the rage in 2016, giving us instant eyeliner and bigger lips with the click of a button? There was growing concern that this new form of augmented reality was taking the concept of unrealistic beauty standards to new heights. For many of us, there’s an instant endorphin boost that occurs when we see our imperfect face manipulated into that of a full-glam supermodel’s—the “what could be” sticks in our minds for a minute after we put down the phone.
Since 2016, the technological advancements in the world of filters have become so savvy, they could fool almost anyone (remember the show Catfish?). And sadly, they can make us fool ourselves into thinking this is what we should look like. This week, a new TikTok filter called “Bold Glamour” is going viral, and it’s the most futuristic and lifelike one we’ve laid eyes on. It’s also raising serious concerns about beauty standards—its artificial intelligence chooses what to alter on each person’s face based on what it “thinks” you need. Talk about shattering self-confidence.
Why It’s Controversial
On February 26, @Memo Akten took to Twitter to share his sentiments about TikTok’s new Bold Glamour filter, alongside a TikTok video demonstrating its effects. “I don’t wanna be known as the tiktok filter guy, but ICYMI after attacking GenX w teenage filter, tiktok just dropped a new filter to take out Millennials & GenZ,” he writes. “‘Beauty filters’ are not new, but the precision on this is beyond uncanny. This is psychological warfare & pure evil.”
The woman in his attached video, @zoe_george_, calls the filter “perfect” and rubs her hand over her eyes as she looks amazed at how it doesn’t “glitch.” Remember filters of the past (or even just a few months ago) where you’d rub your hand over your eye and the virtual lashes would “come off” and be on your hand rather than your eye? Not with this one. “It’s just scary,” she says, “because there’s a lot of girls out there that don’t realize when someone’s got a filter on and they’re chasing perfection because they think that’s what everybody looks like. And this is not what people look like. This is very scary.”
In another post from Memo, he discusses the nuances of the filter: “Some people have asked if this new filter is just makeup—if it just smooths and paints the skin, or does it do something more? The effect seems to do different things to different ppl. On men in general it’s very subtle (not so subtle on women, much harsher & unrealistic expectations). But even on men it’s not just ‘makeup,’ it makes structural changes (which is trivial once it builds the face 3d mesh).”
In a video, Memo said the filter makes his forehead a little bit wider, it makes his eyebrows thicker and more angled, and moves his brow bone lower. It also changes the shape of his eye and reduces his eyelid fold. It narrows his nose a little bit and makes his lips fuller, as well as lifts the corners of his mouth for a nicer smile. These physical manipulations are occurring in all of the videos we’ve seen so far, as detailed below.
The TikTok Reaction
Collectively, these videos below (just these mentioned here, along with Zoe’s above) have had more than 46 million views on TikTok in the past 48 hours. (Note: Apparently it’s not available in all regions of the country yet, so if you don’t see it, that’s why.)
Another TikToker @notsophiesilva posted a video trying it out and wrote, “this filter has to be illegal.”
TikToker @meghan_lane_ says in her video: “This is not healthy. My insecurity is about to skyrocket. My confidence is about to go way down.”
TikToker @misslovecore also shows her before-and-after in her video and says: “This filter has me freaked out…I know people think these are fun, but I think they are really harmful to society.”
TikToker @bellalamberttt says in her video: “I can’t believe this is a filter. The fact that this is what filters have evolved into is actually crazy to me—I grew up with the dog filter on Snapchat. And now, this filter gave me lip filler. This is what I look like in real life. Are you kidding me?”
TikToker @lblikes says in her video: “This filter is actually insane. How do they do this? You wanna see a Catfish—here’s a Catfish. I have never felt uglier.”
TikToker @rosaura_alvrz says in her video: “You guys, this is a problem. You can’t even tell it’s a filter anymore. Oh lord. I don’t even want to have kids anymore.”