This New TikTok Filter Creeps Me Out
Why do I look like Handsome Squidward?
TikTok’s ‘Bold Glamour’ filter is making me deeply uncomfortable.
The selfie has come a long way. From that godforsaken puppy dog filter to cursed AI-generated portraits, taking a picture of yourself to share on the internet has never not been super cool and a completely uncomplicated way to show people what you look like. Then TikTok beauty filters said hold my beer, allowing users to create ‘better-looking’ versions of themselves. Now, the hyperrealistic filter ‘Bold Glamour’ is taking things to a whole new level and it’s giving me the creeps.
I Look Unrecognisably Hot
Trust me, this is not a flex. Yes, the filter gives me some killer siren eyes, cheekbones that could cut glass, and perfect pouty lips. I also look nothing like myself. It’s such an effective filter that it essentially wipes out anything that really identifies me and smooths me out into a generalised beauty standard. If that’s the cost of beauty, I’m not sure I want it.
My Ethnicity Is Nowhere To Be Found
After recovering from my beautiful visage when trying the filter for the first time, the next thing I noticed was that I did not look Asian. I didn’t look white either, which I would’ve suspected given the beauty industry’s penchant for promoting Eurocentric ideals.
What I was looking at was the ‘Instagram face’, described by Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker as a “beauty ideal that favoured white women capable of manufacturing a look of rootless exoticism”. It’s a face with influences from various cultures: eyes and brows pilfered from South Asia; full lips often associated with Black women; high cheekbones from the Middle East. All these features fused with my Asian face made me unrecognisable, and uncomfortable as hell.
The Hot-Or-Not Divide
Thankfully, people on TikTok aren’t having it. They’re taking the absolute piss out of this filter, deriding what it says about the state of beauty culture. They can see that the filter changes your face to the very outer limits of recognisability. But for some, it veers from ‘rootless exoticism’ into a caricature of beauty, with harsh angles and intense makeup. Some users have speculated that the filter favours those with softer, more ‘feminine’ features, to which the filter adds some sharpness and drama. But if you already have a more angular face? Here’s a truckload more.
Whatever the reason, props to those who have pointed out exactly how ridiculous this filter is. My personal favourite is this user, who’s taken it upon themselves to re-enact the best lines from Prince Charming in Shrek 2. Fight the good fight.