I have to admit something that I am not comfortable admitting. I genuinely want women to adore themselves; and I believe that true sensuality comes from a full acceptance and love of self. But, selfies (from women over 30) bug the crap out of me.
First, let me provide my definition of a “selfie”: a woman who takes a close-up picture of herself (doing nothing, but posing for that selfie). Note: I am addressing this little rant to women because let’s be clear – never, never-ever should a man take a selfie—never. There is just something uncomfortable about seeing a man attempting to “work it”. Ewww. But I digress…
I promise you, I am not a hater. I celebrate the beauty of women. I’m the nut who complements everyone and points out attractive women to my husband. He hears frequently, “Wow! Look at her. Home-girl is fierce!” What bugs me–I think—is that a woman my age feels the need to take and post selfies. So, it’s not the selfie that causes me concern; it’s the emotion behind the selfie. Let’s admit it, a selfie is all about ego, vanity, and a desperate need for attention and/or admiration.
When I was a teenager, I would spend hours in the mirror. A pimple was a major life event and my egocentrism caused me to believe that a puss-filled growth on my face was major: every classmate that I saw whispering was whispering about my pimple; each fit of giggles was caused due to a joke about my pimple; teachers could barely teach because they were distracted by my pimple. I dreaded going to school and just couldn’t understand that my mother didn’t understand the severity of my situation.
But, I was a teenager then. Now, I am middle-aged and have learned that I’m really not as important as I once thought I was. A pimple is the least of my worries. Middle age and children have brought on survival-mode. I frequently get-up, take my kids to school, stop by the grocery store, and go by Starbucks without washing my face or putting on underwear.
And sure, I understand that when half the world sees you with crust in your eyes, hair undone, and dried toothpaste on your chin; there is the temptation to flaunt the moments of gorgeousness. I, too, feel marvelous when I’m DONE; but I just don’t think that there is a person in this world, particularly 500 FB friends, who want an up-close pic of my face on their screens. Let’s be honest, at least half of us girls went to Glamour Shots back in the day and had our Cindy Crawford moment, but it’s over, Boo. The days of feather boas and hot pink lipstick are over.
But, those things have been replaced with a depth of our being, a confidence. At this point, you should stand taller, stand for something, and understand your worth. So, while my feelings may seem contrary to my messages about self-love; it’s actually motivated by the same hope: my hope that you are past the point of hustling compliments. Let’s be honest, you only post the picture so others can respond with how gorgeous you are. By now, I want you to know that you are gorgeous and I want you to have one or two special others whose opinions matter to you. Screw the rest!
And frankly, you don’t really know how the rest of the world truly feels anyway. Admission #2: When I “like” selfies on FB, it’s as fake as Meg Ryan’s orgasm in “When Sally Met Harry.” It’s more of an obligatory like. You’ve put yourself “out there”, so I’ve got to like it. Right? You are my friend and even if I‘m anti-selfie, I’m not going to let you have 25 likes on a picture with your come-hither look (knowing that it took 50 takes for you to get ONE that was “postable”). I suspect that I am not the only faker out there.
Now, I realize that selfie-emergencies happen: a guy you are trying to impress, you’ve lost a ton of weight, new haircut, haters trolling your page. In those cases a selfie is a must take; but more than twelve per year is too much. Can we do some self-regulation on selfies? Some folks are doing so many selfies that I am starting to long for the days of flip phones.
Perhaps, I’m missing the point, self-esteem, or the need to have the world see a bunch of pictures of me. Perhaps, I’m just one haircut or divorce away from my own FB Selfie Calendar edition—12 months of me!
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more