I don’t have any rules up in here, so I’m gonna divert our attention from social media campaigns and career choices for a minute to talk about women’s bodies, celebrities, selfies and self expression through social media.
I’m no gender studies expert and while I have a lot of rants, I’m not always 100% confident to share those thoughts. They feel complex, I feel impassioned by that, and as a result I often keep those thoughts to myself.
However I’m moved to share now, because I just stared at this for a solid 4 minutes picking at the little details like the elongation of the neck by dropping the clavicle and the added fullness to the waves of hair…
Between Dove Beauty campaigns and these more recent photoshop exposés where the glossies are takin heat for “perfecting” already perfect bodies — I can’t help wonder….
I seriously love this Jennifer Lawrence chick for raising her voice over this notion that this is NOT COOL. I love the light that is being shed on how unattainable those bodies are without photoshop trickery, and I do think that we could stand to become a bit more comfortable with real nakedness.
Recently, I came across an app built specifically for the selfie. Clearly it was developed for tweens and not grown women like me…. but I was curious as to what it was all about.
There is no ability to comment, you can only like the pic or move along. This functionality is stated to discourage negative feedback, they don’t want to perpetuate trends like #thighgap. The app has since received a lot of criticism for being a bust, even with Justin Bieber backing it. Nonetheless, an interesting moment for social media and beauty awareness.
I was hoping that it might be the next big thing and I logged on with full intention to share a billion photos of myself all day long every day. Instead however I was still feeling too guilty, too insecure, too silly. The selfie has become a derisive practice, easy prey be snarked upon. Even President Obama is getting in trouble for it… meanwhile – like so many millions of cellphone users, I just want to post pictures of myself and look at them from within the privacy of my own phone along with my invisible audience. I can’t help it, I’m deeply compelled to want to see myself through the same screen through which I now view the world. I also want to do it without any overwhelming guilt riding on it… I don’t want people to think I’m self-centered….
But we are, right…..? Why else would I spend so much of my time documenting my life via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the multitude of blogs that I contribute to? Is this selfish?
Oh I can ramble myself away into justification.
At 11 I got my first diary, by 15 I was seriously journaling. I have a boxful of composition books out in the garage that chronicle the ins and outs of tragic love interests, moves from one side of the country to the next and relationship turmoil. Unlike the blogs and the social media profiles, where I showcase the moments I find to be humorous, sentimental or otherwise memorable, the private journals lean tragic, they just do. But in those books are where I have found myself time and time again, defined my values, penned my moral boundaries, explored my spirit, and boys….. lots of talk about boys.
Both the private journals and the public facing blogs are all about SELF EXPRESSION. I must purge, it is a practice that is required for my wellness of being, I must express myself creatively, and whether I like to admit it or not – feedback is magical. Isn’t is some kind of wonderful to receive affirmation that your deepest you is relatable to someone else?
Social media made that expression feedback loop possible. It gave me a platform on which to host a conversation about what it was like to be me, and then subsequently be part of a dialog with people that could relate to that. I love to see other people express themselves too. I love relating to others as they express themselves and I LOVE when they relate to me.
This is something to be proud of!
Perhaps it seems that these ramblings are disparate from one another, how does an image of Jennifer Lawrence under the photoshop microscope relate to our desires to snap photos of ourselves and EXPRESS ourselves?
I suppose it is because I immediately correlated this image, and this thought of perfecting beauty to the barrage of critique the selfie receives – that this image too is under scrutiny. I suppose I wanted to rant, to scream and shout “let the girls express themselves without having to bear the burden of yet another stance of judgement to weigh out before they ever hit share.”
I don’t know how much water this theory holds, but I’m happy to discuss.
While the internet world is raging on about celebrities getting photoshopped to perfection, we are sharing more images of our natural selves than ever. Let us see one another as we are #purplehairdontcare… #amipretty…. what have you… Otherwise, we’re left to compare ourselves only to Cosmo’s warped view of an already unattainable celeb reality.
I think we’re doing just fine y’all!
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