Can incessant positivity and unwavering insistence save a company’s product from rampant, biting criticism? The creators of the new SkinneePix app — which lets you shave 5 to 15 pounds off that selfie you just took — are doing their damnedest to prove that the answer is “yes.”
The app is the first one released by company Pretty Smart Women, comprised of Phoenix residents Susan Green and Robin J. Phillips. The couple got the idea for the app while on vacation with friends; everyone kept taking selfies, but no one liked how they looked in them.
“It’s not that they hated their body, they just didn’t like how they looked in the picture,” Green told the LA Times. “For as long as anybody can remember, there has always been that thing: the camera adds 10 or 15 pounds to you. That’s why we’re not going over 15 pounds.”
But not everyone is buying the claim that the app has nothing to do with self-hate or the controversial societal norm of digitally manipulating human beings to reach unattainable ideals.
Comments on the LA times story include statements like, “Pretty Sad Women” and “Kids were (more or less) fine with taking real, in-the-moment selfies – and now they’ll have their insecure older counterparts to thank for more chances to hate on themselves. Gross.” Meanwhile, Adweek is calling it the “evil app of the day,” Bustle says “all Skineepix is doing is further emphasizing the impossible standards of beauty we’re confronted with every day, which — let’s face it — isn’t going to help anyone do anything but feel awful about themselves,” and Salon is calling the app the “worst thing to happen to the selfie,” saying:
“In the same disgusting way that starlets and models are airbrushed, Photoshopped and altered when they grace magazine covers, this app takes the Instagram filter one step further and allows for self-slimming…Rather than be body- and self-image positive, the app enforces the digital manipulation that many magazines are criticized for.”
In the face of all this negative press, Green and Phillips appear totally un-flustered, maintaining their stance that the app not only helps people feel better about themselves, but can serve as entertainment and even motivation for attainable health and weight-loss goals. The company is tackling criticism head-on with direct, positive responses laced with humor.
In response to Salon running its story alongside other top headlines about coal and global warming, the company tweeted:
— SkinneePix (@SkinneePix) April 1, 2014
And in response to the claims that the app promotes bad self-esteem, Green told the Huffington Post:
“What I’ve found in this is that women who are 100 pounds and women who are 250 pounds, everyone has some issue with their body…Some people are like well, you’re messing with someone’s image and you’re trying to tell people they should be skinny. No, that’s the exact opposite of what we’re doing…The first time I saw myself in that app, I felt better seeing my face a little slimmer. It’s not this huge change. When I saw it I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, I feel better about this picture,’ and that’s only 15 pounds. If I can lose 15 pounds and look like that. We’re hearing now people are using it to motivate themselves to get healthy, that’s how I’m using that now, because I can see something that’s attainable.”
Do we, personally, think the app is just another harmful piece of media reinforcing the idea that we need to change to become beautiful and worthy of self-satisfaction and pride? Absolutely, yes. But we’re willing to bet the creators of SkinneePix wouldn’t be bothered by our opinion in the least, and would deliver positive spin with a smile in response.