A little while ago, during my daily Internet escapades, I came across this quote:
“it makes me so happy seeing selfies that say ‘i felt cute today’ or ‘hair game strong’ it’s so good to love yourself and it’s also so hard to love yourself don’t let anyone tell you differently you’re allowed to admit you’re fucking adorable” (credit goes, as far as I can trace it, to tumblr user mcry)
And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
I have an admittedly terrible body image, so it was (and is) a positively revolutionary concept to me, that not only are you allowed to be happy with you’re appearance, you’re allowed to admit it. You’re allowed to feel cute, and you’re allowed to flaunt a good hair day. I mean, that should be common sense, right? But its not. Because everywhere we turn media tells us that we have to look a certain way in order to rightfully feel good about ourselves. And our culture has conditioned us into thinking that being confident and letting other people know you’re happy with the way you look is vain, or some kind of major social faux paux.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term “selfie” let me provide a definition:
A photographic self-portrait; esp. one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. (OED)
“Selfie” was the Oxford English Dictionary (which is, essentially, the Bible as far as an agnostic-writer-bookworm like me is concerned) word of the year for 2013. So what may have started as a social media trend, seems to be here to stay.
I have to admit that at the onset of the #selfie epidemic I was one of the naysayers, believing them to be the height of vanity. But the stigma behind selfies seems to be dissipating, and with that my opinion has drastically evolved as well. Belittling someone who posts a selfie is just perpetuating the terrible ideals that media and society want us to believe in.
I think selfies should be seen as a form of empowerment. It takes a certain amount of confidence to post a selfie, no matter what your motives are. Sure there may be people out there posting them for attention, they want to see how many social media likes and favourites a photo of themselves can get. But then there are the people out there who post a selfie to empower themselves.
I’ve fallen into the latter category. Like I said, its no secret my relationship with body image is an unhealthy one, but I’m trying to change that. I’ve recently joined the ranks of Instagram and with that comes prime selfie territory. Posing for any photograph generally makes me uncomfortable. Pictures where I am the lone subject – selfies and otherwise – make me unspeakably uncomfortable. But I’ve decided that maybe its okay, healthy even, to do this thing that makes me uncomfortable. Selfies can’t hurt me. They can make me uncomfortable, but they can’t actually hurt me. So I’ve embarked on my own personal selfie challenge: to post at least one selfie a week.
I still take any where from 5 to 20 selfies before deciding one is good enough (generally to the tone of “as good as its gonna get”). And even after the cropping and the filters I generally study the picture and second guess myself for any where from 2 to 10 minutes before forcing myself to hit “share.” And there are days where I decide I couldn’t possibly burden the world with a direct (read: close up) selfie of my face and opt for the #ootd (outfit of the day) selfie instead. But even that is a step. And a step forward, no matter how small, is a victory.
Selfies are powerful. Whether you post them because you’re confident, or because you wish you were, I encourage you to keep posting them. Because no matter where I am on this journey, I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with admitting that you’re fucking adorable.