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Why Selfies Aren’t Vain

We're all been there. We're standing in line, waiting at a red light or sitting at a table in a restaurant when either someone with us or someone next to us whips out their phone and the familiar cry of "selfie!" is heard, usually followed by a horde of girls trampling each other to get the most face space in the picture.

Some might shake their heads or judge those who participate, but we’ve all done it. Looked in the mirror, saw we were killin’ it, and decided to selfie to commemorate the occasion. However, we are somtimes dubbed as “vain” or “selfie-centered” when we take that picture, and have come to be known as the “selfie generation.” There was even a song written about it, believe it or not. 

People take selfies for many reasons. There's the "I woke up like this (not really)" selfie, the "look! I actually got my life together and am wearing real clothes today!" selfie, the "I just discovered a new editing app/new lighting" selfie and the list goes on. No matter the kind, they all get scrutinized and judged for being too "vain."

First off, let's break up the #1 stigma surrounding selifes. No, taking a picture of yourself does not make you vain or self-centered--you just know you're slaying and want to let the world know. Nothing wrong with that. 

This judgmental attitude surrounding selfies needs to change. We should embrace this new culture that promotes self-love, not shake our heads at it. Taking a selfie in a highly public place may seem a little silly, but who cares? Those girls were obviously feelin' themselves and wanted to share that feeling with the world. Some girls, myself included, have struggled for years to be able to look in the mirror and like what they see; much less be able to take a picture and post it, flaws and all. We shouldn't shame the people that want to post their selfies--we should celebrate them and celebrate that we live in a world where people are confident enough with themselves to post pictures of their face/body on the Internet for the whole world to see.

No more giggles when you see that one girl's latest selfie. No more raised eyebrows when you see some teenagers taking a picture in line. Stifled laughter when you see someone whip out a stick. No more selfie-shaming. When we selfie-shame, or tell someone how self-centered they are for taking that picture, what they really hear is "you're not pretty enough to show your face on the Internet. Stop it." So let's end that negativity and embrace every mirror selfie, every silly Snapchat, every dramatic black-and-white portrait, every selfie with fridge lighting (because let's face it, that lighting cannot be beat). Let's embrace this new world where people are confident enough to say "I look good. Here's photographic evidence that I look good. Enjoy."

Keep killin' it ladies and gents. You look great. 

That's Barack Obama, and he approves this message. 


Emily is a part-time coffee addict and a full-time English and Public Relations student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She enjoys all things punny, intersectional feminism, Chrissy Teigen's tweets and considers herself a bagel & schmear connoisseur. You can probably find her either listening to the Hamilton soundtrack or binge watching The Office for the thousandth time
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