Representing oneself with selfies

With iPhones and apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat it is easier and faster than ever to document our lives and upload photographs to social media platforms. It seems as though taking photos of ourselves has quickly become everyone’s favorite pastime. As a result, Time Magazine labeled millennials the “Me Me Me” Generation and even tacked on the term “Selfie” Generation to further emphasize our fixation with taking photos of ourselves. While it is true that the term “selfie” is indicative of the type of society we live in today, where every moment can be captured and shared with the touch of the button, many people fail to understand the true implications of selfie culture and incorrectly label our generation of millennials as self-obsessed and egocentric.These photos actually mean, however, that society, and especially young girls, are starting to love themselves and their bodies. Taking selfies is not just an activity intended to feed our vanity; rather, it becomes an affirmation of who we are in that moment, allowing these photos of ourselves to become not self-obsessed, but self-accepting.

It takes a lot of courage to show yourself to the world, especially when you know everything about your life is constantly being monitored and judged. It is important to have moments in which we can dismiss the idea of perfection and aim attention at genuine moments of self-awareness. Society holds people, and more specifically women, up to various unattainable standards, but our perceptions of ourselves change when we become the focal point of our own images. Selfies allow us to focus on the positive aspects of ourselves and allow access to more realistic portrayals of young girls and women. Taking photos of ourselves is a display of individuality that is conducive to creating a society, which challenges our preconceived, narrow-minded notions of beauty. We get to see bodies of all shapes, sizes and colors depicted favorably, which contributes to a body-positive movement that represents the dismantling of beauty standards. 

Selfies are not, much to contrary popular belief, a signal of the deterioration of our society into a conglomeration of self-centered individuals only interested in figuring out the best angles and lighting for their pictures. We should become accepting of the selfie as a development towards a more tolerant and accepting society. We all need to embrace selfie culture and forgo the idea that it showcases our societies problematic narcissism; rather, it signals a changing dynamic in which women and girls everywhere are finally in control of how they are represented. Learning to love yourself is a long process but one I think that could begin with the snap of a camera.