While personally, the idea of taking my own selfie and posting it up, in all seriousness, for people to appraise makes me want to vomit generously in my mouth, there’s something to be said about the serial selfie-er. Something in my brain says GOD NO, while something makes hers clap and scream YAAAAASSS. She’s singin’ along to some song I can’t hear. She’s at some swag-party that I wasn’t invited to. Can’t help but wonder about those different strokes.
But anyway, the question being asked is,
Let’s look at the arguments here.
I agree with Slate in that selfies put girls in a position of positive self-promotion, of badass Sexy And I Know It-ness. It’s refreshing to see these kinds of ladyballs develop, especially in young girls, in our Mean-Girl world where to be ~*~SeLf AcTuALiZeD~*~ is to be falling all over yourself with blabbering, Liz-Lemony self-deprecation and clumsy humility. Let’s be careful not to hate on the girls who are simply secure enough to like themselves, out loud, unapologetically, in a world where self-hate is the new (orange is the new) black. The worst thing we can do, just when we may ACTUALLY be raising ladies with some self-confidence already installed, is project our own old school insecurities and/or hate cuz we ain’t.
I agree with Jezebel in that, it isn’t entirely about empowerment or insecurity – those taken with sad intentions perpetuate that good ol’ “immediate e-validation” and just drives the nail home that prettiness is king (queen). I agree that at the end of the day, empowering or empty-validating, you taking a selfie is another offering to the world’s altar of Beauty. You taking a selfie is you saying, “I care about how I look right now, and I want you to, too,” and in a perfect world, we would give zero fecks about any of that.
Here’s what I think.
I say, 10 times out of 10, you’re taking a selfie – you’re putting ANYTHING, ANYWHERE – because you want someone to be impressed by something: Your face, your ‘fit, your ‘tude, your so-f#%@ing-Daria sense humor, whatever. But you want external validation. You want someone to pat you on the head for something. If you didn’t, you’d be perfectly fine keeping it to yourself. As imperfect, vain human beings, we all care about how we are perceived. (Spoiler alert: “Not caring” doesn’t make you cooler.) Selfies are a insecurity thing. Me blogging is an insecurity thing. Practically effing everything is an insecurity thing. Period.
And to that, I beseech you: So f*@$@%g what?
Can I ask a different question? GREAT THANKS
Why are we so afraid of insecurity in the first place? Why is insecurity such a bad word? It’s universal, it’s inescapable, and yes, when taken to extremes, people do terrible things and that should be managed with compassion and understanding. I’ll go as far as to say that’s pretty much our purpose here, on Earth – try to battle each others’ insecurities with skraight L-O-V-E (don’t even get me started on that). But, here’s something I’ve been thinking about as I gain more and more experience with teen girls: Can we stop trying to goddamn ATTACK ~*~tEeN iNsEcUrItY~*~, like it’s some kind of disease?
AND SO WERE YOU.
AND SO ARE YOU.
LET’S STOP POINTING AND JABBING AND HELP EACH OTHER THROUGH IT, THEN.
Can we accept the fact that insecurities are a part of life, and that life for everyone is just a series of antics dealing with those insecurities, your whole life through? Can we stop sounding a goddamn alarm every time someone “discovers” a new iteration of age-old teen insecurity? It’s bad enough that teens these days feel obligated to participate in this mini-celebrity culture, curating pages upon pages of their own self-promotional social media content – essentially, gigantic digital targets for welcome and unwelcome judgment. Even judgment by us, adults, who are supposed to be safe spaces, role models. Not every selfie can be one of a girl & her damn Nobel Peace Prize, fine, but sit here and tell me you’ve never in your life done silly, vapid, shallow sh*% for a little affirmation. Don’t you think girls tearing other girls down, on the internet and IRL, is difficult enough for them without finger-waggy adults rattling off yet another reason why this generation is oh-so-particularly screwed?
Here’s a thought: If being insecure is so horrific – and as I said, when taken to extremes, it can be – you wanna talk about a few things that are really perpetuating our Culture of Insecurity?
Now that I think of it – take your damn selfies, man. Post all the pictures of your face.
I don’t want to see anymore of this crap.
And this kind of media consumption is a one-way transaction. Looking at these images is not a conversation; it doesn’t give any control to the consumer, the girl herself. A selfie may perpetuate the love-me-look-at-me culture, but at least it’s an open forum, initiated by the selfie-er, to receive some love via Likes or delightful Emojis (along with negativity, duh, but welcome to the goddamn Internet). A selfie may be asking, “Do I look good?”, and we get the opportunity to say, “YES, GORL.” — but hurtful media straight up shows you, “If you don’t look like this exact situation, then, honey, no.”
Hurtful media doesn’t ask you s@*%. Hurtful media consumed is not up for discussion. And hurtful media is a butt-ton harder to ignore, whereas if someone’s selfies happen to irritate you – PLOT TWIST – YOU CAN X OUT OF HER FACEBOOK, JUDGEMENTAL MCJUDGEYPANTS.
And after having rambled & fully participated in the selfie discussion, YES:
I am telling you that it is a useless discussion, and there are more important things for which to ring the Teen Alarm.
But mostly, I beg of the universe: If you’re not trying to help the situation—if you’re not actively trying to help any young girls through these ugly things—please do what teen-you probably would’ve wanted.
Get out of their freaking face.