You see people all over social media decrying the value of selfies. Claims of them being a symptom of narcissism, a sign of self involvement, or being a self indulgence are prevalent. But are they?
What is a selfie?
From the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is, “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”
So, all it is, is a picture you took of yourself. Seems pretty harmless, right? Maybe it’s the purpose of a selfie that people find so objectionable.
What is the purpose of a selfie?
A selfie is all about you. In most selfies, you are the center of attention. You might highlight something else in the background also, or do a joint selfie with friends, but the whole point is that you are in the picture. Hmmm… I still don’t see a problem, but this seems to be what the critics have an issue with.
They don’t really have to have a point. Selfies are a great way to share with the world what is going on in your life that day. They say, hey, I’m here, and I take up space on this planet. That’s a good thing! Posting selfies challenges the idea that you have to justify yourself, and your wish to be seen, to others. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone though. It is perfectly fine to take notice of yourself and share that with others, if you want.
Selfies are a great confidence booster and a simple, fast way of promoting positive self talk. Having a great hair day? Maybe you are really loving your outfit of the day (OOTD). Perhaps you finally did something you have been meaning to for a long time, and you are really proud? Selfies are a fantastic way to project your awesomeness to the world in a still subtle way. You are allowed to take up space in this world, both online and in real life.
Arguments against selfies
Some people fight back with an indignant “how dare you, who do you think you are??” attitude, and appear in the comments with some awful words. Ignore them, and block them if necessary. There is a deeply ingrained stigma toward having any positivity about yourself. Moving against this stigma makes people uncomfortable, and they try to police your “rebellion” with accusations of narcissism and being superficial.
Claims of selfies being a “cry for attention” get tossed around too. First off, so what if they are? It’s perfectly ok to want attention! What these accusations really boil down to though, is that many are threatened by girls/women/femmes using selfies as an expression of independence. If we are proud of ourselves, if we are already confident and drawing our confidence from inside, we can’t be controlled as easily. Creating our own positive image of ourselves, rather than depending on the media and other outside opinions for our validation, puts us in a wonderful position of power. That confidence the naysayers criticize is healthy!
This applies only if you are not basing your self-worth and confidence solely on the internet’s opinion of your selfies. That’s not healthy. If you are struggling with this, here is a self care/self love exercise to try. Put on a favorite outfit, try a new hairstyle, or do something else that makes you feel confident. Now take a picture, and write down 5 compliments about your appearance. If you struggle with this, pretend it’s a picture of a stranger, and try again. Hopefully you wouldn’t insult a stranger, so treat yourself just as well and find some kind things to say about your picture.
Want to know more? I’ve got a couple of links for you. Here you can find 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Apologize For Your Selfies. I love their take on the subject. Also, please check out 35 Artists Who Were Unashamed of Their Selfies. If artists can do it, why can’t we? 🙂