Digital Plastic Surgery: Why Boys and Girls Use Filters Differently

Can You Build a Photo Community Which Doesn’t Prioritize Pretty?

“Young girls, however, see AR filters primarily as a tool for beautification: “[The girls] were all saying things like, ‘I put this filter on because I have flawless skin. It takes away my scars and spots.’ And these were children of 10 and 11.”

There’s a lot of prior art here, including some I’ve seen personally. Summer 1999 was down in Los Angeles interning with Mattel while in grad school. A few of us were working in their corporate strategy group, specifically doing projects with the interactive group. There were a line of tech toys being launched with Intel — thedigital microscope was especially cool.

One product we focus grouped pre-launch was the Me2Cam which hooked up to your TV and inserted you into games and other activities. This was pretty groundbreaking at the time, remember we’re talking 21 years ago!

One of the activities was a virtual makeup kit, where you could doodle on your face, and so on. The boys who tested it gave themselves horns, tattoos, scars. The girls talked about how this would let them fix the parts of them that were ugly. These were pre-teen girls!

The solutions here are both product and experiential. Products which elevate and suggest lots of funny modifications besides glamour and traditional gender enhancements. Algorithms which provide a broad set of content experiences and don’t automatically make pretty = popular. It might be genetics but nurture doesn’t always needs to double down on nature’s defaults.