Do I have time for a selfie?

New Yorkers love themselves ... who can blame them?

The selfie phenomenon.

All the way from Istanbul, to Buenos Aires, to one horse towns and villages all over the world. It’s here. And it’s here to stay.

From the young to the elderly, from blue-collar workers to the Commander-in-Chief.
The selfie taking practice is being embraced by all. So much in fact, we can’t but wonder if it confirms we’re a narcissistic society.

Looking over my son’s shoulder as he browsed through Facebook this morning, I couldn’t help noticing the dozens of selfies of his young friends. Young women, in an array of poses, ranging all the way from the “head cocked to the side” position, to the “OMG, is this still going on?” duck lips.

Later today, just seconds after I posted my own selfie to Instagram, I pondered the reasons that motivate us to share our mug with, for the most part, strangers.

Do we do it as a way of recruiting external validation, or does vanity propel us to use the selfie to document our beauty?

Were these selfies to be unedited and “au naturel,” perhaps the subject wouldn’t bother me.

Yet, looking at my own Instagram selfie, edited with various filters and a blur effect, I realize we aren’t presenting our “true” selves to the world.

The selfie appears to be another way to conform to society’s definition of beauty; one whose sad message is that you’re only beautiful if you look a certain way.

“Not everything is motivated by the evils of society, mom,” chided the Son when I broached the subject at the dinner table. “Sometimes,” he said, “a selfie is just a selfie.”

But is it? Thinking back to the heavily edited selfies I saw this morning, I’m not so sure.

In all fairness, I’m certain there are those who take selfies for the sake of documenting a bad hair day. Others might take them to evidence what they look like at a certain age.

Yet the fact that so many of us partake in the selfie phenomenon raises the question of, do we need others to tell us we’re beautiful?

And that makes me sad.

Sad because, even words like “You’re beautiful,” aren’t going to help if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Sad because we may always depend on someone to validate us.

Sad because we are placing so much importance on physicality and so little on what truly establishes our worth.

Sad because the majority of selfies aren’t true representations of what we really look like.

Sad because in hiding behind an edited selfie, we fail to show the world our true beauty, complete with enlarged pores and imperfections.

We may not be able to stop the selfie phenomenon, but we can refuse to play by the rules of peers, society, and our own insecurities.

We can turn the selfie on its head and instead, use it as a tool to affirm, “This is me. This is what I truly look like and I am beautiful.”

Inspired by my sister, who posted a selfie of her beautiful, unedited self on Facebook, I took a selfie tonight.

No make up.
No edits.
Just me.

Join me in the effort to turn this phenomenon into something positive by posting your own beautiful unedited selfie.

Let us effect positive change in how the world defines beauty.

Show the world the beauty that is you!



Note: If you post a selfie, please leave a link in the comments section so other readers can see it.

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54 thoughts on “Do I have time for a selfie?

  1. <3 <3 <3
    I'm never afraid of showing how I really look like. In fact, I don't even think of it. I never need to check a photo before I accept to share it, but I don't really know if it means I accept myself the way I am. For me, it's mainly that the physical appearance says nothing about who I am. It means nothing whether it is edited or not.
    You're beautiful. I don't need the selfie to know it. I know it from your words and the way you think and connect with others.
    I missed you.

    1. Nikki, I am so happy to see you on my wee blog again! Thank you for your kind words. You educate us to the fact that acceptance is just that, accepting who we are without the need to edit anything about ourselves. Hugs! :)

  2. I think a lot of those women taking selfies are actually using their phones as cosmetics mirrors! Ever tried it? So, at 56, the state of being almost invisible is here to stay. Quite a change but once it has set in it is liberating. Now I realize that whatever I thought people were seeing wasn’t me at all…and I didn’t need to take a selfie to see that those who care already think I am gorgeous! Most of the time.

    1. Lady, I have never used it as a mirror, but I’m going to! hee hee! I like the way you think! Sometimes, all it takes is a little time to realize we were wise all along! :)

  3. dear Bella, I always take pics of my shoes, my hairpins or something I wear, but not of my face!, I’ve realized I don’t want to be watched even when I’m so visible through my blog!. I feel confident and (almost) pretty, but I’m shy and discreet about some sides of my live.
    I think all that selfie phenomenon could be just about catching the present, about capturing the so elusive instant!, we’re always in the rush and sometimes it seems we’re losing ourselves!
    So nice to read your post!

    1. Ay, my dear Mrs. Allnut, your words ring true! I think it doesn’t matter how confident we think we are, insecurities always have a way of rising to the surface. Other times, while it seems we’re in the public eye, our shyness is still very much present. It’s almost an oxymoron! I think you are beautiful and so photogenic! Everything looks good on you and you know how much I admire your style! Besos y autoestima! :)

  4. Ah but Miss Bella, you ARE beautiful whether you are all made up (like your amazing selfie on Instagram) or above glorious au naturel. Thus those who are not beautiful either way (to themselves) will smudge a wrinkle here, highlight a good point there because they don’t want to expose themselves to ridicule (as cruel as the world can be now days). And Roxie’s selfie on Instagram is beautiful, too! I will take you up on this challenge – no smudging or cheating. It may take a day or two to develop bravery but I so agree with this post’s point of view that I am willing to go bare!!

    1. Nan, you are a sweetheart! Roxy is tickled pink you like her selfie and so am I! As far as I’m concerned, you have no need to smudge any little wrinkle. You are beautiful inside and out! :)

  5. I can’t do selfies with the phone I have. Neither did I do them when I had one that could. I’m cool with anonymity and I really don’t care what folk look like. Little Totsy takes beautiful selfies but I’m not so concerned about how she looks but more about what she needs to improve on internally. She can be a hot mess sometimes, I tell ya, and all the beautiful selfies become null and void to me.

    1. Totsy, you always speak the truth. It’s no good to be beautiful on the outside, if that beauty doesn’t also come from within. I think little Totsy is going through a “phase.” The Daughter did as well and thankfully, outgrew it. I’m confident little Totsy will too! :)

    1. Renee, and ain’t that the truth! You should see some of the lopsided, no nose, no eyes selfies I take! And yet the younger generation does it effortlessly! :)

  6. I never edit my pictures, simply because I’m too lazy. :D I posted a selfie once, to answer a friend’s question (I called myself a half-blonde on Facebook, he was confused what I meant by that, so I took a selfie, called it “Mandatory crappy cell phone bathroom pic”, and that was it).
    What can I say, I’m too lazy to be bothered with selfies (or maybe I just don’t find them interesting enough).

    1. Ivana, I love how you always show us the other side of the coin. Indeed, maybe they aren’t all that interesting. I think it depends on the mood we’re in and how much time we have to kill! :)

  7. What an interesting question, Bella! I’ve never taken a selfie and I don’t know whether I’d like to either…..what does that say about me? While I’m happy that people are sharing their pics, I am, like you, confused whether that’s a true representation of how they are and what they feel about themselves….Going to be thinking about this for a while.
    PS: Love your picture! ♥

    1. Hi Corinne,
      I’m sorry for the late reply. It’s been a bit hectic on the farm! :) I’m delighted you like the selfie! Like you, I wonder about the dynamic behind the selfie taking phenomenon. Time will tell if this is a passing trend or if it’s here to stay! I’m so happy to read your comment! :)

  8. I have never taken a selfie and don’t think I will start now. I am always without make-up, unless I must put it on for professional reasons (it is considered uncouth to not do so). Every couple of years I have professional pictures done, head shots and then something fun to record the changes.

    I think as women we are so convinced we are not worthy, by media and others your approach is wonderfully refreshing. Though you might not need the validation, Bella you are beautiful.

    1. Hi Valentine,
      So happy to read your words! You know what I love about the summer? Not having to wear make up! I find that the summer sun gives one a healthy tan that doesn’t require all the bells and whistles we usually have to resort to during the rest of the year. Stay happy, my friend! :)

  9. Really interesting post, as usual, Bella.I think people take selfies for various reasons, but I take the view that selfies are empowering. Unlike when people take pictures of us, we get to present ourselves the way we want to be seen in a selfie, or at least I do. My selfies are not always the most flattering of pictures because they are usually a close up. I’ve posted bad hair days, small zits, dark circles under my eye, and some good days too, but it was a matter of self expression and saying something about who I was at the moment. I probably take 50 shots before I can find one or two I’m comfortable sharing. But the practice has forced me to look at my image and accept what I see, which I had a hard time doing before. As for heavily edited selfies, I’m not sure what that says about a person, or what it means when people heavily edit themselves by wearing makeup or sport tattoos, have plastic surgery, or any number of things. To be comfortable in our own skin, I believe that’s a goal we all should strive for. I love yours, BTW! Here’s a link to one of my latest:

    1. Ah, Adriene, methinks you are the exception and not the rule! Although truth be told, I wish more of us were like you! I love your take on how the selfie can be empowering! I think this is indeed one way to look at it. I like the idea of taking selfies in different types of situations and not just when I think I’m looking my best. Lately, I’ve been taking them without make up, when I’m tired, and even when I’ve just gotten up–a pictorial part of the journey that is me! I’m clicking on your link to see your latest! :)

  10. Great photo! I tried selfies *once* and said never again. I don’t have a problem with unedited photos of myself, and I never wear makeup, but the selfies aren’t flattering at all. My husband does a nice job of taking photos of me, and I appreciate him for that!

    1. Thank you, Nadine! You are so right–selfies for the most part, are not flattering. It takes quite a lot of practice, deleting worthless images, and posing in just the right angle for them to be any good. I need someone to take good photos of me! Presently, only Roxy’s available! :)

  11. Wowzers, chiquitita! You’re a stunner! <3

    You make some important points, and ask some powerful questions, Bella.

    It's so easy to edit our supposed "flaws" to align ourselves with someone else's beauty ideal. And for what? A like? A follow? A share? To go viral? Validation that we meet the standard? Truly, the only validation we need is our own. xoxo

    1. Ellen, you are wise as you are beautiful! Indeed, the only validation we require is our own! Powerful words, amiga! Hugs and more hugs to you! :)

  12. I’ve never posted a selfie and doubt I ever will. I do love all the reasons you brought up for posting these photos and what that suggests about our society at large.

    1. Hi Martha! While it might seem like a silly subject, the truth is that every trend has a reason behind it. The Son thinks I over think things too much but I really believe our actions are motivated for the most part. Blessings to you as well, dear friend! :)

  13. I rarely take selfies and not for any moral or high-minded reasons. Whenever I do, I think, I should put on makeup or brush my hair and I don’t feel like it. I’m totally shallow I know and above that lazy. Your selfie, btw, is beautiful!

    1. Thank you for your kind words but the horrible truth is I usually have something stuck in my teeth or my hair is on fire or something crazy like that! :)

  14. I can’t figure out how to take a selfie. Mine always look weird so I just delete them. Luckily, my hubby is good with a camera, so he took the photos for my web page. Your selfie is beautiful just like all of your photos! You have such an eye and great talent with a camera.

  15. You are gorgeous and we all love you and are pulling for you. I agree with Nikky, we know it from your words, too. You have a beautiful soul. Though I would look at your blog if it were all photos fo you! xo

    1. Jodi, you have no idea how much your words mean to me! Just today, I learned, thanks to you, the valuable way to breathe through a panic attack! And let’s not forget how your visualization tips got me through my knee surgery! Thank you, my friend! Love you lots! :)

  16. Bella, my friend, you are GORGEOUS!! Untouched, bare-faced, au naturel! Brava! I nearly always delete the selfies I take — I can’t relax in front of a camera when I’m taking the shot, and it always looks goofy to me, heehee!

    1. Debbie, you are too kind. Thank you for your sweet, sweet words! Would you believe I have a hard time keeping a straight face when taking a selfie. It somehow seems so silly! :)

  17. You look great in your selfie, Bella. I’m not much for taking them, though I’ve been known to take a few when I’m shopping for a new dress and want my daughter’s opinion. I take a selfie in the dressing room and text it to her. She’s pretty fast and responds right away with a thumbs up or down. Another time I took a selfie was recently after having my hair done in a new color: a deep dark red. I wanted to send it to my daughter but each shot I took made me look so weird and bald on top, so I said forget it. She’ll have to fly home for a visit to see my hair! And why do I always look older in selfies? Sheesh! You look stunning in yours, but when I take one my face looks like an English Muffin that’s been split in half. Sigh.

    1. Monica, you’ve made me laugh! Gosh, I love your wit and sense of humor! Just today I was doing exactly that–taking a selfie of me in this shirt in H&M. Well, suffice to say, the lighting was so bad, the dressing room was so cramped, and the double mirrors were so REAL, I realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to capture the hideous shirt I had on! hee hee! :)

  18. Simply fabulous! I realized the term “selfie” was here to stay long before Oxford Dictionary introduced it as an official word in 2013.

  19. I love looking at your selfies, Bella! Your “natural” selfie is lovely, as well as the other IG photos. Incidentally, I love the way you do your makeup – stunning! I think the beauty of selfies is that we have full control of the result. I am not photogenic at all, so whenever someone else takes my photo I cringe. I think the selfie phenomenon is very much about finding oneself — this is probably especially true for young people. And in our present day culture (thank you social media) it’s very much about appearances and visuals, and we all know there’s a negative to all of that… That said, if I had a daughter, I would rather she be taking pretty photos of herself that she is happy with rather than fawning over celebrities and their selfies if you KWIM. I actually find that more disturbing — that is, immersing oneself in the lives of celebrities and their every move on social media. OMG, I must sound like a right cantankerous and cynical old woman! :D

    1. Joy, I think you are beautiful! There is no way you are NOT photogenic! I think the media in partly to blame for us thinking we are not beautiful, or photograph well, or look smashing! We must take control and realize that we are gorgeous! And yes, sadly the celebrity phenomenon is here to stay as well. On the positive side of things, it’s something we also did and fortunately outgrew! So happy to read your words! :)

    1. Ay, Eve, thanks for the chuckle, chiquita! I think of the many times I’ve stuck my thumb and arm in my selfies and have to laugh that you are doing the same! Hee hee! :)

    1. Monica!! Thank you for checking in on me! Please know that this comment brought me back from the doldrums and reminded me how I have neglected this blog and my friends far too long. I’m in the process of writing Roxy’s birthday blog post and it should be up by tomorrow. Love you, girly! :)

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