For decades people have taken pictures of themselves; it’s not really anything new or groundbreaking. Yet, in recent years, the term “selfie” is in everyone’s vocabulary, as if it’s unique to our generation. I mean, we do have Selfie Sunday, but we can’t really take credit for the idea of taking pictures of ourselves. With our constant access to social media, Selfie Sunday can be disguised as No Makeup Monday, Transformation Tuesday, and the occasional “I’m my own WCW.” Of course, we are all guilty of it (some of us may be more common offenders). On the surface, it appears to be a declaration of self-love, but, before you go off celebrating women empowerment, let me address my issue with the term “selfie.”
The selfie is taken any time you’re feeling yourself. You look in the mirror like “hot damn, I’m a solid 7 today.” (Honestly, I’d like to think everyday I look photo-shoot ready but, lets be honest, I’m lucky if I put jeans on). Sometimes you’re purposely staring off into some random area (hoping for a “candid”) and other times your gazing directly into the lens. Either way, your selfie is posted for a response. Like, “Hey look at me, I’m fabulous!” For many, this may seem like a display of self-confidence, yet if you’re really honest about the selfie it can easily become a sign of insecurity. We post these pictures of ourselves with the perfect filter and lighting, hoping to beat our highest “likes” record. We stare at our phone to see who liked it or who commented on it. Dayum girl! You’re literally perfect! *eight fire emojis*. We thrive off the attention. But, should we rely on the opinions of others to validate how we feel about the way we look? Regardless of the number of likes, whether it is 12 or 312, it doesn’t change the fact that you are what you believe you are. If you don’t believe in your beauty, no amount of likes will change that.
Personally, I’m a fan of the combined power of the blur of the Snapchat camera with any black and white filter; it really puts in work with my self-proclaimed flaws. But anyone who really knows me knows I am in no way perfect. The selfie is the face I put out to the world, the face I allow people to see. So, in theory, the selfie is really a masterfully crafted facade; it’s who I want people to think I am rather than who I actually am. I don’t live a life of winged mascara casually laughing in the perfect backdrop 24/7. My life is not the lyrics to a country song or an angsty “I just wanna look good for you” line. I’m not my selfie, which is a little ironic in retrospect. A picture of yourself should be a reflection of you. A distilled moment in time that represents who you are, not who you think people want you to be.
Everyone is entitled to posting a picture of themselves. Post one everyday of the week for all I care, but make sure it’s being shared for the right reasons. It is not a bad thing; it’s not a flashing neon sign that says, “I have self-esteem issues”. But, the expectation to look like an Instagram model every post is tough to overlook. It must be acknowledged that the term “selfie” carries a lot of weight and baggage in today’s society. It suggests manipulation and deceit, and it abides by a standard that women should not even consider trying to reach. In my opinion, the selfie weakens self-love.
Yeah, we all have those days when we want someone to say, “you’re absolutely gorgeous” but, remember, everyday you can say the exact same thing to yourself and have it resonate so much more. So next time, don’t take a selfie, take a picture of yourself.