Friday, January 3, 2014

Embracing My Selfie

This coffee cup makes me happy.
It's a Friday afternoon. It's cold. It snowed last night. My kids and my husband are cleaning the apartment so I can spend some time answering emails and doing boring computer stuff. I came across a couple of blog posts that were criticizing something written on Jezebel that declared "selfies" are not at all empowering. So, I read it. The author argues, badly, selfies are not okay because they are telling young women (not young men, who also take a boatload of selfies) that they are only worth how they look. She is also angry at the fact that "selfie" was Oxford dictionary's word of the year because it's not empowering to young women.

I get some of where she is coming from. There's way too much emphasis placed on physical appearance, and the pressure is especially heavy on young women. I totes get it. However, she labels that selfies are a "cry for help." For realz? Get over it. Sure, some women want to be complimented. Maybe they have low self esteem and want a boost. Maybe they are vain. Maybe they know they look good and want the world to agree. Maybe they feel they look silly and want to share. Maybe they are sick and look pitiful and want some sympathy. Maybe...maybe...maybe no one gives a fuck what you think. Let me ask, what is wrong with fishing for compliments? Oh, I know you'll immediately tell me that it's bad because society tells women they must be pretty and therefore all of these women taking selfies are succumbing to our cultural pressure to be beautiful and, therefore, are looking for feedback from society that they have achieved the acceptable level of attractive. That could be partially true and there surely is a problem there. We all get that. It's just not that black and white. There are many selfie-taking women who are not doing it for that purpose, no matter if you believe them or not. They simply feel good about themselves and want to share or don't exactly feel good about themselves, and not because of society, and want a boost. It's okay to be told you are beautiful. The best part is where the author says it's okay to take a selfie if you are showing off a new pair of glasses or some new lipstick, because that's not a "real" selfie and you're really just highlighting your accessories. So, objects are fine. You're fine if you're highlighting fashion, which was created because you're not good enough on your own, but you're not fine if it's just your face because you're just stuck under "the man" and you're crying out for help. Insert an eyeroll selfie here.

Personally, I am one to cut the author some slack. I'm not that much of an asshole and I'm not going to rip her apart because I disagree with her opinion. Also, I kinda feel bad because I think maybe she has selfie jealousy and she is writing this from some sort of pain. Maybe her phone takes crappy pictures. Maybe she has an elbow disorder that prevents her from holding a camera out and clicking the button to capture her beautiful face. Who knows? I won't judge too much.

The comments section of the article is fun because people selfie-bombed it. Then there were some blog posts in response, taking apart her article. Blogger Viva La Feminista, has responded to this Jezebel article by calling for women to take part in a 365 Day Selfie Challenge aka the #365FeministSelfie group on Flickr or via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the #365FeministSelfie hashtag. At first, I thought this would be something fun to see unfold. I wasn't going to take part because, well, I *do* have a bitchy cell phone and I'm also quite lazy when it comes to uploading pics from my real camera. I'd probably fail at a 365 day challenge. Five minutes later, I was all in.

Why am I doing it? Well, one reason is because the article annoyed me and I'd like to be immature and do the opposite of what she says is "correct," much like my previous post in which I bitched about people who tell you what you should and should not say. I'm also doing it because I have been told my entire life that I am ugly. I personally do not like to look at myself. This is a problem. I pick apart photos of myself, even selfies. I see everything wrong with me. So, this is a small challenge to myself to get ME to acknowledge that I am not so hideous after all. If the Jezebel author has anything to say about that, then she can suck my selfie.

I likely will not be posting pics on the daily. I don't do Flickr or Instagram (I'm allergic). I occasionally visit Twitter. I may post to my Facebook Page. I will most likely take a pic a day and then upload them in one shot on this blog once a week. Sound like a plan?

It's rather cold


Alttara said...

I call bullshit on that bullshit.

I studied photography; photography is my art, and although I don't do much phone selfie, I certainly did my share of self-portraits (with a remote), as I found it an excellent mode of self-expression that allowed me to express so many different sides of myself, which allowed me, in turn, to come to much more acceptance of those various facets of myself.

I think of it like when you hear a recording of your own voice, but it doesn't sound like you think you sound. The more you hear recordings of your voice, the more you relate to that as being yours, as well.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

Selfies have been around in various art forms for millenia. No one's all up in Da Vinci's shit because he did a self portrait.

Love your comment. Thank you, Alttara. :)

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