Snapchat's gender-swap filter: Just fun and games?

(From left) US actress Kat Dennings, and local singers Benjamin Kheng and Narelle Kheng tested out the new Snapchat gender-swap filter.
PHOTO: Instagram/katdenningsss, benjaminkheng, narellekheng

The latest filter on multimedia messaging app Snapchat is taking the Internet by storm.

The filter allows users to reimagine themselves, their friends, or any image of a face, as the opposite sex.

Results generated by the augmented reality feature can be quite realistic.

The 'male' filter gives women a broader jaw, thinner features and facial hair, while the 'female' filter bestows pillowy lips, smooth skin and luscious lashes, reported lifestyle magazine Elle.

Several celebrities have joined in the fun, including American singer Miley Cyrus.

She posted a picture of her using the filter, and likened her new appearance to Joe Jonas, also an American singer.

US actress Kat Dennings, who is known for her role in sitcom 2 Broke Girls, also tried out the filter, and uploaded it on her Instagram Stories.

Local blogger Lee Kin Mun, better known as mrbrown, uploaded on Facebook on Tuesday (May 15) a series of photos with blogger Benjamin "Mr Miyagi" Lee, using photos from as far back as 2005.

He captioned the series of photos: "Ms brown and Ms Miyagi through the years."

His post had over 500 reactions from netizens, with some commenting that the two looked like twins in the filtered pictures.

One Facebook user commented: "I'm totally sold. I had to read comments to understand there is no Ms Brown."

Ms brown and Ms Miyagi through the years.

Posted by mrbrown on Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Singers and siblings Benjamin and Narelle Kheng from local band The Sam Willows also posted on Instagram their own versions, with many commenting that the filter made them look like the other sibling.

While it seems all fun and light-hearted, some have highlighted a more serious side to it.

One Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi pointed out that it "shines a light on regressive gender norms".

In Snapchat world, being an attractive female apparently meant having long hair, long lashes and pale skin, while being a good-looking man meant having a square jaw, short hair and a beard, she said.

UK newspaper Metro also reported that some men were using the Snapchat filter to see what it was like to be a woman on dating app Tinder.

One male user tweeted: "Used the Snapchat filter on Tinder for 30 minutes, and in conclusion I hate men."

This article was first published in The Straits Times.ย Permission required for reproduction.

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