If you're on Instagram, you've probably seen the "Which Are You?" filters in people's stories. They're like the sorting hat from Harry Potter, or the quizzes that I used to do in issues of Seventeen: completely arbitrary sorting devices that are a fun distraction, but don't actually tell you anything about yourself. There have been filters that tell you what Marvel superhero you are, what picture of an opossum you most resemble, and one that tells you what Wawa food product you are. Iamcraiglewis2's hilarious "Genetics Scanner" filter will hopefully murder this tired trend.
As the "Which Are You?" trend went on, the filters ventured outward from pop culture references to what percentages of this or that you are. One such popular filter purports to tell you what percentage of a Good Girl you are, which always makes me feel weird to see. Some of these filters say they're analyzing your ethnicity, which is also weird for different reasons. Obviously these filters aren't doing any actual analysis. Like all "Which Are You?" filters, they're random. But the very idea that you can discern someone's racial background by the shape of their head is actually phrenology, and that shit creeps me the fuck out.
When I saw last night that almost all my friends were trying the Genetics Scanner filter, I was worried that they'd all broken out the calipers. What I discovered was much more delightful, and much less racist.
Genetics Scanner appears to be designed to trick people into thinking it's another skull shape analyzer. There's nothing about the filter that reveals its ultimate joke: instead of telling you what your genetic background is, it turns your face into an animal. Even more fun than doing this yourself is telling other people to use the filter without telling them the punchline, like I did to Motherboard's Sam Cole:
Using this filter makes every other "Which Are You?" filter seem absurd. Why would you bother with what percentage of good girl you are when you can make your face look like a toad's? If an Instagram filter is going to pretend to sort me into a Hogwarts house or scan my cranial lumps, it better also help me freak out my friends.
I've never begrudge anyone for using a "Which Are You?" filter. I love astrology, and people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. But with astrology, I find an opportunity for self reflection when I look at the ways the stars might (definitely will not) affect my day. These instagram filters do provide the satisfaction of participating in a trend, but not a lot else.