Hey, Jezebel? Lose the judgement.
Last week, I wrote an article on Policy Mic about the selfie as a tool of self-confidence. As someone who has struggled greatly with weight, body image, and self confidence, I use the selfie for my own self-empowerment. Slate published a great article earlier today about selfies being “tiny bursts of pride” for girls, which, while that isn’t quite the way I’d phrase it, I agree wholeheartedly.
Jezebel responded with an incredibly judgemental, hypocritical, and rude response. An excerpt:
But the typical selfie is not taken by women who have just completed Iron Man Triathlons or finally finished reading Infinite Jest (caption: Me N DFW 4 eva! XOXO #blessed #reading #smart #rip); selfies don’t typically contain job offer letters, successful grant applications, their face in front of a gorgeously rendered still life the woman drew by hand. They’re literally just pictures of a woman’s face not talking (grey-area exception: selfies where a person’s face is not the point of the picture. Some women I follow on Instagram, for example, post pictures of themselves wearing cool sunglasses or lipstick or hats, which I feel is not technically a selfie because the point of a pure selfie is “HERE’S MY FACE” and not “here’s a cool hat/lipstick shade/pair of sunglasses”).
Further, self-taken digital portraits are typically posted on social media, ostensibly with the intent of getting people to respond to them — that’s what social media is. In that respect, selfies aren’t expressions of pride, but rather calls for affirmation. In real life, walking up to a stranger, tilting your head downward at a 45-degree angle, duckfacing, pushing your tits together, and screaming “DO YOU THINK I’M PRETTY!” would be summon the authorities. On the internet, it’s just how people operate.
Wow. Uncalled for.
Yes – I will concede that we live in a society where girls feel they need validation from others to feel beautiful and therefore worthy. There are a number of things wrong with that. Which is why I praised the idea in my piece of a selfie forum that is designed only for positive feedback, instead of people writing ugly, hateful things. The messages we receive about our physical appearance should be encouraging ones that make us feel good.
However, I don’t really think a selfie is necessarily a reflection of that. It makes me feel good, take ownership of myself and what I look like. Yes – often I’m showing off my cute hairdo, or new earrings, or funny shirt. I’m not always wearing makeup, or doing a duckface, and I don’t think I’ve ever “pushed my tits together”. Sometimes I take a selfie, but most of the time I’m thinking about the things I need to do at work, the conversation I had with my mother, the interesting article I just read. Selfies are vain sometimes. Humans are vain sometimes. Get over it.
There is a huge amount of judgement being thrown out in this piece on how people choose to express themselves. Everyone has a different style. That shirt that you find wonderful at Target may not call out to me. Those boots are screaming my name, but you couldn’t care less – you’re over by the heels. Because that is your style. That is who you are. And how you dress or how you look externally has NO reflection on the content of your character. Why are only some selfies acceptable and others aren’t? How do YOU know that I’m not taking a selfie after I finished my first 5K with the book I just finished? (Both of which I have actually done.)
I can be a feminist, advocate for women’s equality and inner worth, and still care about the way I present myself. Caring at least a little about how I look to the rest of the world is not a bad thing.
#selfie #nomakeup #feministselfie