On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Snapchat aims to rectify the absence of statues of famous women in public spaces by adding them in augmented reality on its social network. With 27 million users in France, Snapchat plans to make 3D statues of famous and iconic women appear on screens alongside real monuments dedicated to famous men starting from March 8th.
Snapchat’s augmented reality studio has recognized the under-representation of women in public spaces and decided to pay homage to 8 inspirational women in 8 different cities across France, not only on March 8th, but beyond it as well. This project aims to highlight the fact that women are largely under-represented with only 10% or less statues in public spaces.
The augmented reality technology allows these statues to appear in 3D on similar pedestals and with similar postures to those of male celebrities. The statues can be accessed by scanning a QR code or through Snapchat’s logo featuring a friendly ghost. For instance, Simone Veil will be featured alongside General de Gaulle in Paris, while Simone de Beauvoir will be positioned next to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of “Terre des Hommes” and “The Little Prince” in Lyon. Other inspirational women to be featured include the painter Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, the writer Françoise de Grafigny, Manon Tardon, a figure of the resistance, Olympe de Gouges, a pioneer of feminism, and the feminist activist and journalist Hubertine Auclert in Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Strasbourg and Lille.
Donatien Bozon, director of the AR Studio, Snap’s first AR studio in the world based in Paris, explains that they tried to pair famous men and women from different fields such as literature, science, politics, and resistance to highlight their achievements equally. This project is entirely self-funded by Snap and showcases the potential of AR technology in the cultural domain.
Although Snap has gained many users worldwide with 750 million monthly unique users, including 27 million in France, the company is facing financial challenges and recorded a net loss of 288 million dollars in 2022. Nonetheless, this initiative is expected to make a positive impact on society and inspire the younger generation to learn more about the contributions of famous women throughout history.