A new makeup app is courting controversy all across the web for its ability to remove makeup from pictures or video.
The 99-cent app, called MakeApp, uses artificial intelligence to add or remove makeup on a face in a photo or video.
Some are upset with the makeup removal feature on the app, criticizing the premise as misogynistic.
The program, created by Ashot Gabrelyanov, is troubling for a variety of reasons.
The idea that women layer on foundation and mascara as a way to hide their “true” faces from the opposite sex is a longstanding — and sexist — belief. As Elle Australia pointed out, a 2017 YouGov survey revealed that an astounding 63 percent of men believe that women wear makeup to “trick” them.
While MakeApp hasn’t been explicitly advertised in this way, many have questioned why the makeup removal option exists at all.
Jenna Rosenstein, a senior beauty editor on the Harper’s Bazaar website, is wary of the app and its intentions.
“While I think the technology is quite cool, I don’t love the idea of an app that exists solely to strip women of their makeup without consent,” she told HuffPost.
“Makeup is so often a tool used to curate identity and image — and I for one would never post a selfie on the internet without my battle armor of red lipstick and black eyeliner,” she added. “Stealing a woman’s choice to wear — or not wear — a full face of makeup is problematic. We must ask ourselves: what exactly is the purpose of this app, and what is the male equivalent?”
Gabrelyanov said critics misunderstand the app.
“I want to stress that this was not intended to be a misogynistic product,” he told HuffPost over email.
“We built MakeApp as a fun experiment and released it into the wild a few months ago and unfortunately the media coverage solely focused on the makeup removal function of the app and characterized it as a bunch of ‘tech bros’ trying to hurt women, which is just so far from the truth,” he wrote, mentioning that the company has women on the team.