When Jezebel posted a ridiculous piece about selfies being a "call for help," I was well aware that the selfie was under attack from other parts to society. A few days ago the amazing Nina Garcia, of Marie Claire & Project Runway, shared an infographic over Twitter about selfies making us more narcissistic. President Obama looked like he got in trouble over a selfie. Selfie is the word of the year. The funeral selfie apparently is the worst we can get.
But what about positive selfies?
Yesterday I saw a mom and her maybe-5yo-daughter taking a selfie. They were making silly faces and snapping pics. Those were memories being made, moments of love that both will likely remember forever. I take those with Ella for the same reason - we are marking a moment in time.
Then there are the countless pieces that claimed some selfies as feminist - WOC rarely see themselves reflected in media, people over a size 4 are told to hide themselves, transgender persons want to be seen...hell, a lot of people responded to anti-selfie moments by saying, "I do not see myself represented in the media, so I'm making my own!" Also Jamie Nesbitt Golden (@thewayoftheid) and Kate Averett (@convergecollide) started the #feministselfie hash tag that this project builds on.
And if you had told me that I'd be quoting James Franco, I would had laughed, but I am...His NYTimes op-ed on selfies is full of gems:
Attention is power.All of this ruminating on selfies came at not only the end of the year, but my birthday was on the 28th. In 2008 I participated in a 365 project. That was something I needed to; I just didn't know it then. The hardest part of being in the media is dealing with your own image. I use to hate how I sounded, then I did a lot of radio and I listened to it. I hated how I looked on TV, but I did that and felt more comfortable. And the same for photos. After that 365 project, I don't love how I look, but I am far more comfortable saying, "I look good today. I look good in this outfit." This has helped immensely as I have gained a lot of weight during the stress of graduate school.
Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for charges of self-involvement, but, in a visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing.
In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”
For 2014, I started a #365FeministSelfie group on Flickr and am inviting you to join. And if you aren't on Flickr, just use the hashtag #365FeministSelfie every day on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
So are you in? I hope so.
Edited to add: I am getting feedback that a daily selfie is too overwhelming for many to even imagine, so I am suggesting you go with weeklies. Maybe you'll get hooked and go for dailies! Do what you can, but remember the photos are about the real you. They aren't supposed to be the glam-you (although those are welcomed). I say more below...
Edited to add: Fear. When I mentioned this to one of my besties, she mentioned fear as one reason she's never tried to tackle a 365 challenge. And yes, that's the foundation of this challenge. Conquer that fear of seeing yourself every.single.day. We might look at ourselves to put our contacts in, even make-up on, but taking a selfie and posting it means REALLY looking at yourself. And hopefully at the end (or much sooner!) you will find it less painful and more enjoyable. I don't want to turn us into Paris Hiltons, but rather individuals who don't cringe when we need to take a photo.
Jeni at Joy and Woe is finishing up her own 365 challenge and has a list of tips on how to get through your own. Thanks, Jeni!
Libby at Moments in my Head has some excellent points about posting photos of ones self as an expression of self-love. She asks us why shouldn't we share photos of us as we experience happiness?
I get asked how I do it all...a lot. I hope that sharing photos when I am exhausted and crying will help shatter any myth that I do it all...or at least gracefully.