In honor of International Women’s Day, Snapchat has unveiled three well-intentioned filter options honoring famous women: Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Marie Curie. It’s nice, silly, fun; a good way to kill 10 seconds and say “happy International Women’s Day!” to someone in your contact list. For whatever reason though, Snapchat has decided to add smoky eye makeup and full eyeliner to the Marie Curie filter.
Presumably, Snapchat is not trying to say that looking hot is a key part of being a scientist or that a Stacy London approved five-minute face is part of Nobel Prize-winner Marie Curie’s legacy. It’s just a pretty dumb decision that any non-idiot should have shot down.
Snapchat has taken heat before for the implications of its promotional filters — last summer they made an anime-inspired filter that essentially turned faces into racist Asian caricatures, and last spring they released a Bob Marley filter that basically put people in blackface. Given the backlash, you would think some more care would go into these decisions at this point.
Filters that make people look more attractive — flower crown, butterfly crown, rosy cheeks, etc. — are among the most popular on the service, so if we give Snapchat’s filter designers the benefit of the doubt we could say they were just trying to con their way into a viral hit and a W for women in science. Though in all likelihood it was just a bad idea from someone who works at a tech company with only one woman on its board.