If you follow the memeosphere, the hot trending topics, you’ve probably heard about a little app called, er, MakeApp. It’s a cellphone app designed by Russian Ashot Gabrelyanov that purports to be able to use a filter on a woman’s photograph to remove the makeup and reveal her au naturalle skin.
It can also add a filter to photographs, and all in all this filter can be applied to both men and women. Doing a bit of research on the topic, the app uses an algorithm to wash out the color of the photograph, and in particular remove color from the standard makeup target areas (the eyes, the cheeks, the lips, etc.), so it’s not 100% accurate: and Gabrelyanov doesn’t really claim it is. It’s a simulation to give a rough idea of what you look like without makeup.
So far, it just seems like another dumb face changing app in the mode of something like Snapchat. What’s all the hubbub about?
Apparently, this app is quite triggering to the delicate ladies of the internet.
Women hate this app, why you might ask? Of course, they are saying it’s “misogynistic.” And naturally, Blue Checkmark Twitter leads the way! The app is being blamed on masculine resentment of women.
Furthermore, some women’s websites lump this in with all the Hollywood sex scandals. Apparently, wanting women to embrace their natural looks and reject the Hollywood body image, y’know, the thing that they’ve been complaining about for decades, is bad all of a sudden. So the moral of the story here is that, you SHOULD embrace artificial Hollywood beauty standards?
Bearing in mind of course that I am an evil penis monster, but I find this fuss over an app to be pretty ridiculous, you might as well be getting mad over the snapchat Dogface filter. Let us ALSO remember that the guy’s Russian so OBVIOUSLY he’s some horrible Orthodox Church Father Putin Supporter, amirite?
Anyway, let’s cut through all the folderol and see if we can find out why these women are really mad, and whether or not their rage is legitimate. And yes, I’m claiming that these women who are complaining have to be judged as mature adults rather than have their words taken as blanket gospel–rather than “Listening and Believing.” What a terrible thing I did.
As you might expect, one of the regular arguments is “consent,” in the sense of “HOW DARE YOU TAKE OUR MAKEUP OFF WITHOUT CONSENT?”. Again, this is an image editing app. To keep going back to the Snapchat well, this is like demanding consent to get the dog filter.
Another complaint, and in my opinion a much more legitimate one, is that there is an idea that women put on makeup to “trick men,” and they feel that this app is embodying that old stereotype of women and is thus offensive.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole point of makeup to deliberately accentuate and exaggerate your natural traits? So if you’re to take a cynical mindset, couldn’t that be interpreted as a lie? Not to say that I necessarily feel it is, but it’s not any less of a lie than, I dunno, one of those men’s t-shirts that cinches in your waist and expands your shoulders.
So, without going into too much detail, allow me to surmise the real issue behind the outrage:
What this reveals is that for all of their complaining about the tyranny of beauty (See the link to The Beauty Myth above), women still want to look good and maximize their sexual attractiveness.
They are arguing that this app reinforces the male enforced standards of beauty, which is to an extent true…but that ignores the fact that it’s not heterosexual men who design fashion and makeup. Another example of how women’s chains are often put upon them BY OTHER WOMEN.
Also notice that in polls a plurality of women, close to a majority, agree with the idea that makeup tricks men. Yet again, the narrative ignores this to focus on male on female oppression.
To an extent I don’t blame them for being mad, as one writer was savvy enough to say in the preceding Huffington Post link, makeup and fancy dress are her armor and battle roll-out, and to be stripped of it against your will IS essentially being disarmed. That’s fair enough, physical attractiveness is an extremely important thing for both sexes but women more so, and if more women could be upfront about this, I think there would be much less hysteria over the app. Naturally, the chattering classes miss the point completely as they usually do.
Refinery has a spectacularly tone deaf example of this, where the woman admits to using apps to ENHANCE her looks but claims that makeapp is BS for some reason not involving that she doesn’t want her sexual attractiveness reduced.
Women are afraid of their sexual dominance in the modern Western world taking any sort of hit, and considering how overwhelmingly powerful they are in the ahem sexual marketplace, it’s somewhat understandable they don’t want to lose their power. And of course to the privileged, equality feels like oppression. So, ladies…all I can say is that you need to check your privilege.