Earlier on Thursday, Snapchat announced the latest addition to its ever-growing list of lenses: filters that feature a three-dimensional, animated version of your Bitmoji. (Bitmoji are customizable cartoon avatars you use with Snapchat.) To access your 3-D Bitmoji, update your app, open the rear-facing camera, and tap the screen once. You’ll be presented with a carousel of animated options: your Bitmoji drinking coffee, playing guitar, doing yoga. Bitmoji you is living your best life.
The new filters are, admittedly, very pleasant to use — like the infamous Dancing Hot Dog filter back in July, except this time, the hot dog looks just like you. I just have one question: Has anybody over on the Snapchat/Bitmoji team actually seen a pair of breasts?
Watching my Bitmoji self do yoga — digital me is much more flexible, so that’s a plus — I found myself raising an eyebrow, staring at my cartoon chest, and thinking, Hmmm, that’s not quite right. That’s not how gravity works. That’s not how breasts work. (My sincere apologies if your breasts do, in fact, look like this while you invert yourself, jump around, and collapse onto the ground. Also, my congratulations.)
The other versions, wherein my Bitmoji dons the outfit I picked for it — a black crop top and some mom jeans — are slightly better, but still seem to have fallen prey to the boob-animation struggle — a scale that ranges from completely absent to jiggling and NSFW — that has long plagued the world of video games. I tried changing the body shape on my Bitmoji — there are only five body types available, ranging from stick thin to the heaviest option, which looks more like the padding under a Santa suit than an actual curvy body — but that didn’t help, either. The breasts were still just wrong.
The fun of a Bitmoji is that you can tweak it to look like you. They’re not perfect — a fellow short-haired female friend and I commiserated last weekend about Bitmoji’s limited hairstyle options — but when you’re done picking your skin color and face shape, and adding eyelashes and moles and glasses, you’re left with a digital avatar that, ideally, you recognize as yourself. When I look at my newly three-dimensional Bitmoji, I don’t see myself anymore. Bitmoji’s limited body-customization options were fine enough when Bitmoji were flat, but as Snapchat gets more into AR, and avatars start to pop up in the real world, body shapes start to matter more. If my Bitmoji can have my dimples, I’d also like it to have my breasts. Is that too much to ask of an app I didn’t have to pay for to use?