Love it or loath it, it seems that the selfie is here to stay!
According to UK newspaper The Telegraph, Aussie’s lay claim to the first ever reference to the term ‘selfie’ in 2002 when a University student, fond of abbreviations, first used the term when posting an image of an alcohol-related injury.
Whilst tabloids may be quick to link the selfie phenomenon to narcissism and cries for help (particularly in relation to female posters), I have witnessed numerous instances where they have been used to empower women. Contrary to popular opinion, not all selfies are photoshopped or instagram filtered attempts at attention seeking.
Just yesterday, while perusing Instagram I happened upon this post by the gorgeous, one-time Aussie blogger Good Golly Miss Holly:
And she is not alone. Fellow Aussie blogger Bianca Wordley, came under the media spotlight way back in 2011 after proudly posting photographs of her post-baby body when she vowed not to ‘buy into the bullshit pressures of magazines and weight loss ambassadors.’
‘I grew three of the most amazing people with this body. Three girls who I want to never be ashamed of their body. Three girls who I want to look at their body and feel confident and excited at its potential. Three girls who one day may grow their own little people. And for that, I am immensely proud.’
And for her efforts the blogosphere (myself included) and the mothers of Australia applauded her (and exhaled a sigh of relief.) At last the pressure to be perfect had been relieved. We could all take her lead and be proud of our mummy-tummy’s, stretch marks, and c-section scars, and celebrate, instead of be embarrassed of, the changes our bodies had endured on the road to motherhood.
But what of the women who are yet to bare children or have chosen not to? Are they afforded the same ‘body-pride’ across social media?
The sad truth of it is, whether we are pre-menstrual, menstrual, or post-menstrual, having born a hundred children or none at all, our bodies are under the media microscope. So is it any wonder that women have taken it upon themselves to attempt to take control of how their bodies and appearance are portrayed via a selfie. At last we have control over what and how much the public sees of us.
But as art student Lindsay Botto found, even presenting yourself in the best light online, does not always afford you positive praise. In an era in which online anonymity is rife (or so it seems) Botto found that she came under attack regularly from commenters on Tumblr, who attempted to tear her down with cruel and derogatory references to her appearance.
“The act of women taking selfies is inherently feminist, especially in a society that tries so hard to tell women that our bodies are projects to be worked on and a society that profits off of the insecurities that it perpetuates. Selfies are like a ‘fuck you’ to all of that, they declare that ‘hey I look awesome today and I want to share that with everyone’ and that’s pretty revolutionary.”
Regardless of the nay-sayers of the interwebs, or what the anonymous venom-spitting trolls may say, I think that we, as women, have every right to document our own lives (and appearances) however and whenever we see fit. I know that when my children are grown and have flown the nest, I don’t want to be the missing person that was always behind the camera instead of in front of it!
Tell us…do you love a good selfie?