Selfie Nation


In 2013, the word "selfie" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It was also named the "Word of the Year" that same year. With over 286 million hashtags, the tag "selfie" is one of the most popular to date. From Millennials, to Generation Xers , to Baby Boomers, the word selfie has become commonplace in our everyday vernacular. Despite it's popularity, there are still so many negative connotations associated with it. Many people feel that selfies are mostly associated with narcissists and egomaniacs who just simply cannot get enough pictures of themselves. The words selfish and self-consumed seem to go hand in hand with the term selfie, yet I can't say that I agree.

To me, it is kind of ironic, because here we are in a society and time period where terms such as self-love and body-positive are very important. We are constantly telling young girls and women (especially, not that men are excluded) to love themselves for who they are and to be proud of their bodies the way that they are. So why is there such a negative feel to selfies? Why do we have to feel embarrassed or ashamed of taking a selfie in public? Why do so many people have to write a reason for taking a selfie so that followers, friends, or family don't say, "oh look, you know who posted yet another selfie today." It is strange, we tell people love yourself more, be confident in your own skin, but yet when they do, we criticize them for doing so. Why is everything a constant contradiction?

Up until about a year ago, I personally had not taken many selfies, let a lone, allow anyone to take a photo of me. I did not use my Instagram account and on Facebook, I really did not have many photos of myself. I, as I had mentioned before, was in a very deep and dark place of self-loathing, and low self-esteem. When I would look at photos of myself, I would feel sick to my stomach. All I would do was sit there and pick apart every single little thing that annoyed me about them, and believe me, I could do it all day. I don't know why or how I felt (feel) that way, but it is something I since promised myself I would work on. I made a pact with myself that in this next year I was going to try to practice more love for myself: to not focus on every negative aspect of every picture, to not step on the scale 3 times a day, to not verbally put myself down all the time, and to take more photos of myself and with my kids (photos that they can remember me by).

So in this past year, I resurrected my sad, lifeless Instagram page, that previously had 5 posts, and between there and on Facebook, I have posted more selfies like I said I would. I must say taking more photos of myself has worked in some ways, I find myself feeling a bit more confident, I notice I am not focusing on just my flaws and negative aspects anymore (although I still do a lot of that too), and I am really trying my best to learn how to love myself the way I am for who I am. I don't believe that my postings of selfies make me self-absorbed or egotistical, and I am sure that there are many others out there like me, who view selfies as a tool to gain confidence and self-love.

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about whatever other people think. The general public always has something to say about everything anyway. If selfies work for you to give you more confidence, go for it. I think that if we are going to promote self-love, self-acceptance, and body-positive attitudes then we need to stop tearing people down for trying to do just that.


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