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.
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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