Hello my pretty little weirdos
Go on. Type into your social media search bar #selfie. I fucking dare you!
On the Insta alone there are 300,147,557 (at the time I wrote the draft for this blog) posts with the selfie hashtag. Not to mention its offshoots – #selfies #selfiesunday #selfietime #selfiequeen #lookatmelookatme #IambeingbitchyIknow
Social media is saturated with pictures of ourselves. And while I too am guilty of taking the occasional selfie, I wonder if it is good for us and our body image.
Body positivity is something I struggle with daily. I battled with eating disorders as a teen and into adulthood, and I will always struggle with the thoughts and feelings associated with those disorders. Those thoughts and feelings don’t simply go away. Body positivity is a sculpture of yourself that takes years to build up in your mind. But it is a brittle thing, made of muslin and tissue paper, wrapped around a framework of mantras and positive thoughts. It is unstable. Delicate. Fragile. And, if triggered, it can be torn down and stamped out in a matter of minutes.
Studies have shown that, for people, like me, with problems maintaining a healthy body image, looking at other people’s selfies can have a detrimental effect on our self-esteem. The simple act of looking at selfies can trigger those horrid feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, leading us down into the spiral.
And it would be us, those obsessed with our bodies, that look at other people’s selfies the most. We are constantly comparing ourselves with others, finding any reason to put ourselves down, to prove to the self-care-bunny in ourselves that it is wrong. To prove how horrible we look… compared to this person or that.
One thing I also noticed when researching this subject was the saturation of “women” with body issues, making it appear that it is a problem only inflicted on people with vaginas. This is grossly untrue. NEDA says “In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or EDNOS [EDNOS is now recognized as OSFED, other specified feeding or eating disorder, per the DSM-5] (Wade, Keski-Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011).”
So, this is the reason I have not provided many links because so many of the studies have only included women and it kinda pissed me off. #sorrynotsorry
On the flip side, taking selfies of ourselves has been shown to enhance all the good feels. I promise I read this on a legible website, but I forgot to write the web address down. I know, I’m not being a very good blogger. Forgive me my incompetence.
So, what does Colin Christian have to do with all this? If you don’t know Colin then you should totally go check out his artwork. (Trigger warning for those with Trypophobia)
Colin posted the other day explaining that he receives a lot of messages from budding artists, coming to him for advice. He will go and check out their social media and will be bombarded with the selfies that lurk on the pages.
Colin advised, “Show what’s going on with your head and hands, at the end of the day, that’s how you will succeed.” and maybe that is exactly what is needed.
More self-expression and less selfies.
Start posting more about what is going on inside your head and less of what is on the outside.
Selfies are going to stick around for a while. And, I will say that, if you are triggered by looking at other’s selfies, then please refrain. Love yourself more. Remember that a social media feed is not someone’s life, it is simply a highlight reel.
I want to leave you with a question or two or three, though. Are selfies art? Haven’t a lot of famous artists depicted themselves in self-portraits? At what point do selfies become art?