Why Posting Selfies Can Be an Act of Feminist Social Media Activism

Posting selfies is and isn’t a controversial topic; on the other hand, everyone does it…right? On the other, when you see, say, an Instagram feed that consists of selfies and nothing much else, doesn’t it make you feel that the person behind the account is somewhat self-centred? Now, I consider myself a feminist and am all for empowerment, self-love and freedom of expression. Still, I’ve caught myself thinking judgemental thoughts when I see a wall of selfies or when I’m considering posting one myself. That’s some serious BS though, and here’s why:

1. There’s Nothing Wrong with Self-Love and Expression

People — especially women, femmes, non-binary and trans people — are often shamed into thinking there is something inherently wrong with celebrating one’s own beauty. Whether it be open comments, articles about the countless ways in which we “should” better ourselves or subtle remarks about how expressing oneself should be done in a different way because this and this and this (insert any condescending remark here) is shameful. Now, if you’re not hurting anyone, you should be permitted to express yourself however you see fit. And, yes, that does include selfies. So whenever you choose to post a selfie unapologetically, you are in fact fighting an oppressive system. Is it a radical act of activism? Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it can be considered a radical act of self -love. YES you look good and YES you know it. Now let’s make the world know it, too!


2. You Are Allowed to Take up Space

How often have you been told to be quieter, to conform, to just make yourself easier on others' palate? Have you stopped to consider that it is actually a way of abusing power? People who are actively trying to make you smaller, less noticeable and more modest are in fact trying to control you. It might not be conscious; these things are more often than not part of a larger cultural picture that has been internalized by individuals. Still, the negative impact is there, whether conciously inflicted or not. Here's the thing, though: you do not have to make yourself smaller in order to be respected. Of course, mutual respect is the key — it is equally important to give space to others than take some for oneself. However, women and femme people often grow up in a culture that encourages them to adapt and mould themselves into others in order not to be considered too aggressive, full of oneself or immodest. Again, shame plays a big part in this — and whenever you choose to post a selfie, what you are essentially doing is flipping the bird to the toxic culture. It is an act of taking up space, and each small action counts. Most importantly, prioritizing things that make you happy can be downright revolutionary. If you feel happy, confident and good-looking and want to share that with the world, go ahead!


3. It Can Be a Way to Raise Awareness

Not all selfies need to be happy, glowing and pretty. Selfies can be a way to show that yes, bad days are a part of life. They can be used to tell stories of depression, trauma, eating disorders — you name it. They can be a way to share stories of loss, combatting diseases, overcoming hardships or just sharing one’s own struggles. People who choose to share their difficult moments in social media are brave. Really, they are. Because they are taking the risk to be emotionally vulnerable in an often oppressive space. Now that is radical.


So if you want to post a selfie, by all means, do! And if you don’t, that’s totally cool too. Let’s hold ourselves accountable for all the judging, though. That is not cool. What is cool is all these people sharing their self-love and personal experiences with us.