It’s no question whether the Selfie has become a major part of our generation: there’s even a song about it. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all have an abundance of constantly renewed photos in the #selfie tag. I mean, Snapchat was created solely for the purpose of sending selfies to anyone and everyone you know. Selfies have defined our generation in the past few years and are a force of power beyond that of what even you or I can imagine.
Now, I’m not about to sit here and tell you not to post photos of yourself on the daily. To the contrary, I completely support your desire to snap a pic every day or even every hour if you so choose.
There’s science behind our change to linking conversation with facial expressions and photos as well as text or voice (Skype, anybody?) but that’s not what I care about right now. What I’m focusing on is this movement of self-love. Selfies allow us to portray ourselves to our friends and family and be proud: they allow us to look at ourselves and be happy about what we see. Maybe it’s a funny face or maybe it’s the new outfit you just bought; we can learn to laugh at and love ourselves. This so-called “narcissistic” act is anything but.
When somebody asks you to list your strengths and weaknesses do you go into panic mode? “How do I talk about my strengths without being narcissistic, and my weaknesses without sounding like I’m fishing for complements?” Well, like so much else, you can blame society for this. Our generation especially has been raised in an environment that says “don’t brag.” Unfortunately, what we hear is “don’t be proud.” We are told to achieve our dreams but don’t talk about it if you do: you don’t want to shove it in everyone else’s face.
Screw that. Be proud and scream it at everyone, you did something awesome! That doesn’t mean you devalue the awesome thing that someone else did, it just means you are able to recognize the hard work you’ve put in to reach your goal.
Similarly to this, we are told daily that our bodies aren’t perfect. You think yours is just fine? No, you’re wrong. If you don’t fit the ideal, you can’t be happy. Lets face it: nobody fits that ideal. People of all shapes and sizes are completely content with their looks but they’re shamed into thinking that’s not right. Snap a selfie, and what are you saying? You’re professing to this media-run world that they are wrong, you are happy with yourself and proud. Selife shaming feeds into exactly what the media wants: if you love yourself how will they convince you to buy products to make yourself perfect? (For more information on the hurtful tendency to body shame, see my other post here.)
When you’re thinking about posting your third selfie of the day and worried what people will say: do it. That’s the thing about selfies, they’re not really for everyone else. You may be posting them on social media; but in the end selfies are to benefit nobody but yourself. The next time you see someone selfie shaming their friends, you just tell them how happy you are that they aren’t giving into to self-hating social constructs. Well maybe not…but at least tell them they look great.
The Selfie Movement is one of self-love: something each and every one of us can use.
By Quinn Murphy