The Other Reason We Take Selfies

MG.HipMamaSelfie There have Photo on 4-11-14 at 5.27 PM #4been a few articles circulating around the Internet that address selfies and the implication that extreme narcissism is at play there. The idea that young people and/or others who take selfies are narcissistic is an attractive one, but it’s suspect too. The prevailing conclusion of these articles is that such narcissism is dangerous and monolithic, that selfies only equal narcissism and nothing else, but this is too simplistic a conclusion, isn’t it? Many of us take selfies for other reasons – this was my first thought on the matter, and I have been mulling over the articles like this one http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/selfies-cause-narcissism-mental-illness-addiction-and-suicide/  wanting to write a response for about a month now, when I read this post by @yearofthewitch on Instagram:

I will never apologise for selfies, clothed or not. they’re part of my process of unpacking all the feelings I have about my appearance, and I choose to do it publicly. I’ve never had any trouble attracting the people I’m into, but because I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by genuinely beautiful women, and stupid enough to buy into comparison, I’ve always felt like the least “pretty” girl in the room. && my body, even when I was thin, never fit standards or clothes quite right. I’m trying to undo and uncross

Read more and view the accompanying photo at http://web.stagram.com/n/yearofthewitch/#i1av76AKTx1KilBA.99

Growing up, I too felt really ugly when I compared myself to the others around me and even though I no longer feel ugly at all, I do still remember the pain that I felt back then, how insecure I was about my brown skin, how plain and inferior I felt compared to my light-skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed friends. It’s a whole different experience now to look in the mirror and to like what I see, and sometimes, I like what I see so much that I have to document the moment: a good hair day, good make-up, clear skin, a good night’s sleep, or the tan curve of my collarbone. Like @yearofthewitch I am undoing and uncrossing all those feelings from the past, all those times I looked into the mirror and wanted to be someone else, someone whiter, prettier, someone who people saw and understood. And that’s another thing that selfies might be about, about asking people to look at us, to really see us, maybe even to see us the way we see ourselves, or the way we wish to be seen: up-close, fat, thin, working toward a goal, fine with what we see, even if it doesn’t fit the current beauty standard, or even if it’s fleeting, and sometimes it is. Selfies are good practice, practice seeing the beauty that sometimes eludes us but beauty just the same.

 

One thought on “The Other Reason We Take Selfies

  1. Shelah

    Interesting thoughts Michelle! I agree that taking selfies does not = narcissism. I just wrote an article “Who is the narcissist in your life?” http://www.theopenjar.com. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know your thoughts? 🙂 Light & Love, Shelah

    Reply

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