I’ll admit, like most people, I initially rejected selfie culture. I thought the whole idea of taking pictures of yourself, sharing them, begging people to like, share, reblog was a bit ridiculous. It screamed attention-seeker, desperate, needy. It was everything I hated about social media, about the inconsequential rush of someone “liking” something you’ve uploaded. I mean, how true is the validation I get when someone double taps my face, anyway?
But the more literature I read about selfie culture, the more I struggled to find the flaws in it. (And yes, I too rolled my eyes at the idea of “selfie culture literature.”) Selfies are one of the greatest things to come from the camera phone, and here’s why: it encourages us to feel good about ourselves.
We live in a world where images of perfect people are constantly shown to us, held up as the ideal. We strive to meet this ideal with fad diets, self-deprecation, self-loathing, under eating, over eating, excessive exercise, and lots and lots of self-hatred. We think we ought to look like these people, that we won’t get the job, find the significant other, have success if we don’t look the part. But then selfies come in.
From Laura Argintar at Elite Daily:
For once, putting a woman’s body on display does not spell doom for the female gender. In fact, our selfies are actually a way of proliferating body acceptance. We’re now witnessing real girls from all different angles, perspectives, shapes and sizes. They’re on the beach, on the streets or just in their bathrooms. The more pedestrian the setting, the more accustomed we’ll become to seeing authentic women in a bona fide way.
We’re working toward a more accepting society, by first accepting ourselves. Do you know how hard it is for me to dislike a girl’s selfie? It used to come easy. I used scoff, and call her needy, shallow, vain. Now, I see her in a new light. She’s confident and strong. And if she’s not, who I am to say these selfies aren’t helping her to get there? So what if she’s vain? Why is it a bad thing to feel good about ourselves? In a world where girl-time often means group pity-party, it’s refreshing to experience selfie culture. It’s time to feel good about ourselves, to own up to our strengths, our beautiful faces. It’s time to see more of the world—to see more big noses, wide foreheads, acne scars. Real people living real lives and feeling great about it.
If you’re not on board with me yet, check out Laci Green’s video on the Selfie Revolution. This girl knows her stuff. She’s got a great view of body positivity, and backs it up with some hard facts.
All this to say, I’ve decided to try Laci’s experiment this new year. I’ve decided to launch a selfie instagram account. Rather than clogging up your feeds (because, let’s be honest, not everyone is part of the selfie revolution), I’ve created a separate account to post daily selfies. But they won’t all be glamour shots and feel good photos—I really want to chronicle this journey, to discover more about my self-perceived beauty (and my self-perceived “ugly”), self-worth, and body positivity. I”m excited to document my life in such a personal way, to gauge how I feel on a daily basis, by really looking in the mirror (or, rather, the front facing camera lens).
Want to explore your own body positivity? Start a selfie-a-day. Maybe you don’t upload them, maybe you immediately delete them, but take one. Really pay attention to how you feel about it, and delve into why. So you made a funny face, your angles are wrong. Does that devalue you as a person? If it does, why? What can you do to combat that initial reaction? And how can you be more body positive?
If you’d like, follow my selfie insta here. I’d love to see your selfies, so please don’t hesitate to share. I’ll definitely double tap back.