Long Live #Selfies!
A few weeks ago, I encountered a Thought Catalog post titled Go F*ck Your Selfie, a piece that features the misguided thoughts of one very angry man and his hatred of the “selfie.”
The Thought Catalog author pulled out some lovely Urban Dictionary definitions* of the word “selfie,”definitions that the author “loves.” He writes:
The term ‘selfie’, apologies, I mean #selfie, is an alarming new trend that took off in 2012 for people who now had a hashtag to justify their vanity. I love Urban Dictionary’s definition:
An act usually carried out by girls aged 12-21, the act involves taking photos of ones self while posing. If the act is carried out by a man, he is usually seen as being gay.
Example 1: Yo man, I seen you put selfies up on Facebook… You gay cunt!
Example 2: Hey man, I was doing some Facebook stalking today, found the hottest girl, check out her selfies.
It should be noted that example two is good only for women who only want to be screwed at 2:17am and kicked out at 4:11am, but never dated, because a barrage of selfies on one’s Instagram or Facebook red flags a high-maintenance egomaniac.
May I suggest a way to wean off this addiction? Try taking pictures of interesting things — because god knows you are no longer interesting, you are wildly overexposed.
In short: this some bullshit.
I see selfie hate expressed online every day, whether in Thought Catalog posts like the one above, or via seemingly casual insults on the matter thrown into Facebook comments. And you know what? I’m sick of it.
People who bash selfies on the Interwebz do not understand one very important thing: there is vast societal pressure befalling women every day, pressure to fit a very narrow definition of what’s beautiful, pressure stemming mainly from dominant media messages in Western culture.
When we turn on the TV or pick up a magazine in the grocery store, we tend to see very thin white women with silky hair, big boobs, a narrow nose, big lips, a tiny waist, and a flat stomach. This is a short, nuanced version of the issues with the media’s portrayal of women, but that’s a topic for another day.
I shouldn’t have to remind anyone that women face very public pressure to be beautiful. But we can see the result of this pressure, at least in part, manifesting itself in the selfie. The selfie can be interpreted as an embodiment of the modern day woman’s desire to control one’s own public image, by way of taking what is essentially a self-portrait–a very popular and ancient photographic and artistic technique, for those of you who need to brush up on your art history.
There is nothing wrong or inherently bad about wanting to take photos of yourself to control the public images/messages you send into the world, particularly when that message is something as personal and prone to judgement as your own face/body.
The selfie bashing, IMO, can be interpreted as an example of internalized misogyny, or unconscious hatred of feminine behavior.
Long live selfies. Gurl, you werq that Instagram filter, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.
Note: Upon further examination, Urban Dictionary has removed aforementioned homophobic and misogynistic definition of the selfie. This further proves my point that Mr. Thought Catalog writer is wrong, wrong, wrong.