Frida Kahlo has been the subject of much debate after Snapchat created a special filter for the iconic artist to celebrate International Women’s Day. Along with the Frida Kahlo filter, Snapchat also gave users the ability to use a filter for scientist Marie Curie and also the civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
CNet report that Beatriz Alvarado, who works for the Frida Kahlo Corporation, spoke of how she felt Kahlo could easily be considered an early pioneer of the selfie with her numerous celebratory self-portraits.
“In the age of the selfie, Frida is considered to be the first selfie artist. She told a story of love, life, strength and passion through her self-portraits.”
— jenn kauffman (@jennaudrey) March 8, 2017
Frida Kahlo once explained that the reason she painted so many self-portraits was because of her self-imposed solitude and because she knew herself better than anybody else.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best. I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”
With so much love for Frida Kahlo, Snapchat users thought that they would show their respect for the artist by using Snapchat’s special International Women’s Day filter which allowed them to become Frida Kahlo for a day. This filter gave users bold red lips, the signature floral headdress with braids and a unibrow. However, some users were shocked and angered to find that the filter also made their skin lighter.
The Guardian reports that those with darker skin will find that with Snapchat’s Frida Kahlo filter, their skin looks noticeably brighter and whiter. To prove this, a portrait of Frida Kahlo herself was used, and once she came through the Snapchat filter, she looked markedly lighter than she was. This would not have pleased Kahlo, who proudly painted herself with dark features, including her eyes.
Besides Frida Kahlo, some women complained that the Marie Curie filter Snapchat had was completely unrealistic. Marie Curie was an inspirationally brilliant physicist and was a two-time winner of Nobel Prizes for both physics and chemistry.
Even though the Marie Curie filter gives users pictures of little beakers, it also gives them long eyelashes and dark eye makeup, better suited for the catwalk than a scientific laboratory. One Twitter user jokingly asked if Marie Curie had anything to do with the invention of the “smoky eye,” instead of the Radium and Polonium she discovered.
Like the Frida Kahlo Snapchat filter which made its user’s skin pale instead of dark, another Twitter user complained about Snapchat’s Marie Curie filter, explaining that they almost forgot what she was famous for as the filter included longer eyelashes rather than anything scientific or more suited to Curie and her work.
The Marie Curie and Frida Kahlo filters aren’t the first time that Snapchat has come under fire. The Charlotte Observer report that they previously faced the wrath of their users when last April Snapchat created a Bob Marley filter which users complained almost looked like “blackface.” Now with their new Frida Kahlo filter, it seems they have gone in the opposite direction and made people look too white.
Did you see or use the Frida Kahlo and Marie Curie filters on Snapchat to celebrate International Women’s Day and if you did, what did you think of them?
[Featured Image by Uncredited/AP Images]