Confusion in the Sea of Selfies

Hey! How’s it going? Me? I’m pretty good. I’ll admit that I haven’t really thought out what I’m going to write for this week, but I’m not too concerned. I’m usually mostly winging it, anyway. And besides, this blog is for writing practice and a good part of writing (at least, my writing) is just coming up with stuff on the spot. So it’s time for some practicing! I’m just going to come up with a topic and run with it, okay? Ready…GO!

Selfies.

The subject of excessive self portraits via cellphone/computer has been on my mind a lot lately. Feminist articles (which I’ll admit, I’m addicted to) arguing both for and against the phenomenon have been flooding my Facebook feed and I can see why both sides could have valid points.

On one end, it could be that people that take selfies are objectifying their bodies, showing them off to the public in an attempt to get approval from the world that so often tells them that they are not good enough. Selfies can be taken as evidence of the damage that is inflicted on both men and women from a very young age as they are bombarded with images of “perfection”, none of which include armpit fat, dark arm hair, or crooked eyeliner.

Then there is the argument that selfies are the exact opposite. I’ve been seeing more and more articles and videos encouraging selfies as a way of helping men and women to appreciate themselves more. In photographing themselves all snazzied up or just hopping out of bed in the morning, they are showing the world that they except themselves for who they are, fighting back against the propaganda that there is a “perfect” body type out there that everyone should have.

I can definitely see how both sides of the argument can apply. The only issue I have is with the fact that there are a lot of different kinds of girls/guys/selfies out there and who is to say which selfies are objectifying and which aren’t?

(for the sake of simplicity, this post is going to focus on female selfies from this point forward because that’s what I know most about)

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this picture of Kim Kardashian:

is a prime example of body love (I’ll admit that this isn’t exactly the best example, but I was afraid using a non-celebrity would induce rude comments toward her and that’s not the point of this post) , but does that mean that it’s only okay to selfie if your ass and boobs are properly covered? And if they’re not, do you have to be a flat chested girl with little to no booty?

You might be thinking “that’s just rude!” and it is! But I see it all the time! A busty girl with all the curves of Dita Von Teese take a photo of herself in her new bikini and all of a sudden she’s an attention whore. But if an “unconventionally attractive” girl takes a photo in the same bikini, it’s body love. I don’t know about you guys, but that seems pretty backwards to me. Isn’t the point of body love the love of all bodies? It just doesn’t make sense!

But, even then, it’s not just about the outfit or the body type, it’s about the pose, too. Kim seems to be turned at the perfect angle to show off her million dollar booty, but I can honestly say that if my butt looked like that, I’d want to show it off, too! The thing is, I don’t have a butt like that. But I do have really nice collar bones and my boobs aren’t half bad either. So when I take selfies I tend to focus on the front upper half of my body.

And what if your boobs are two of your favorite parts of your body? Whether or not they are large or small? Is it not okay to show them off simply because men will drool over them? And, if so, isn’t that just another way of restricting what woman can and can’t do?

Then there are those people that don’t understand the significance of the selfie all together, taking the stance that selfies are just girls being self-centered. They don’t want to see your face all over their feed so they’ll attack you for being egotistical/skinny/fat/weird just because they can. My problem with these people is their blatant ignorance, but that’s another problem all together.

My main issue with the feminist sides of the selfie argument are the odd and unbalanced double standards that no one seems to know how to tackle. Despite the research that I have done, I still can’t quite distinguish the line between body-love-advocate and product-of-society or if there really is one at all.

I don’t know. A lot of this is just food for thought, but it is something that I think is important.

I think that what it really comes down to is people need to stop finger pointing and name calling. Just because I don’t think that someone’s selfie respects their body does not mean I have any right to say so in the comments. Simply yelling at someone anonymously  will only cause hurt. If I really want to make a difference, I have to understand the context of the photo. Was she taking it because she just wanted compliments or did she believe it was a declaration of body love? From there, I can understand where she is coming from and communicate what I think she could do differently and why.

Not only that, but then she can communicate back, defending herself and her reasons, and the interaction becomes a conversation rather than an accusation.

I recognize that this argument is incomplete and there is a lot that I didn’t touch on, but it’s everything that pops into my head when I think of selfies. This is probably a subject that I will touch on again at some point in the future because my opinion and knowledge are ever changing and growing. If you have a problem with anything I have written here, please tell me. I’m curious and eager to learn more about what other people think.

Do you take selfies? And, if so, why?

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