Thursday, March 9, 2017

Beating a dead horse with Snapchat

So it looks like Snapchat is in trouble again, for being "insensitive".

This time it appears to be because they've opted for a rather ridiculous filter to celebrate women in science, that also gives them digital eye shadow and smooth skin.

It does seem a bit much. Too much with the eyes! :P And unnecessary. But........

Hello?!???!?!?! This is Snapchat. Not the National Association of Women.

Snapchat doesn't exist to solve world problems or to be a "voice" for our culture. It's an app, predominately used by women (70% of the base), to send pictures and short videos. And yeah lots of goofy filters. It's the grownup equivalent of buying pointless shit for your house in Nintendo's Animal Crossing. :P

So now this story is making the rounds of online news and social media. But is it relevant? Does it matter?

As a man you'd think I'd leave such an issue alone, as it doesn't really impact me. Or does it? Last time I checked about 50% of the earth's population are women. Having an opinion about a woman's issue is at least in part having one about an issue of the human condition. So hear me out.

Social media makes it a bit easier to get carried away with linear thinking, and it certainly can become an easy avenue for expressing that thinking. Too easy at times. It can become a reality distortion field.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease" is a corollary to a simple truth in human behavior. People expressing outrage (whether justly or unjustly felt) are louder than those who are not outraged. They usually get more attention and feel empowered by it. It tilts the discussion. While that's no bad thing, that is rarely where solutions lie. And the overall truth usually resides somewhere between those extremes.

People can be convinced, rather easily, to value things that have no intrinsic value. That's a given. Just like the time Penn & Teller got hundreds of people at a green rally to sign a petition banning water, WATER! Granted, they did engage in "lying by omission". But that was easy. All they had to do was rely on the fact that NO ONE WOULD QUESTION a position that fit with their notions. Even of those notions are demonstrably retarded or naive.

People can feel victimized even when they're not being victimized. People instinctively rally behind ideas, because belonging to something usually trumps reason. We're social primates after all. I won't pretend that our culture doesn't have a load of work to do in leveling the playing field between the sexes and how they are judged. Indeed, any attentive student of history can realize that culture itself exists to amplify the otherwise rather subtle differences between the sexes merely for the sake of social order.

Seriously though. There are bigger fish to fry than Snapchat filters when it comes to equanimity between the sexes, something I feel is intrinsically way more important of a concept than mere equality.

People pounced on this perhaps because it's EASY, not because it's terribly relevant.