In Defense Of the Selfie

The selfie. We've all done it. We've all scorned someone for doing it.

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s the modern version of the self-portrait. A selfie is a picture taken of oneself with a camera or smart phone at arm’s length, and it’s usually taken with the intention of uploading it on social media.  Everyone does it, from Rihanna to that girl who just caught a pleasant glimpse at herself in the public restroom mirror. There are blogs entirely dedicated to celebrating the contemporary self-portraiture, and a simply #selfie search on Instagram will give you thousands of images featuring pouty-lipped citizens nonchalantly posing for their smart phone. Although it’s a growing trend (ahem ... the author’s own PolicyMic photo has been acquired through one of many selfie attempts), it has come under a huge amount of scrutiny. 

Many parents fear that the selfie movement will ‘hurt the children’. Shona Sibary, contributor for the Daily Mail and mother of four calls the selfie trend “a little vain at best — concerningly self-obsessed at worst” and shamelessly admits that all her girls‘ "selfies’ have been unceremoniously wiped — without exception — from the family computer.”

Although many critics call this practice blatantly narcissist and staggeringly pathetic, some feminists aren't accepting to be shamed for showing a little vanity. Many are reclaiming vanity in an effort to divorce it from its pejorative connotations. Lots of women no longer want to be publicly disgraced for showing signs of appreciation for their bodies, and I don't blame em'. Marianne from XO Jane explains:

“Vanity is usually something women are accused of [but] vanity is thinking we're worth looking at […] This is why I have decided to outright embrace vanity. What does that even mean? It means no more feeling guilty for my Instagram being a lot of pictures of me.”

In her defense of the selfie, Emily, another prolific XO Jane writer, explains that she has no intention of slowing down her leisurely pursuit of the modern age auto-portrait:

“So I plan to continue posting pictures of myself looking fly to my various social media accounts. And anybody who doesn't like it can kiss my photogenic ass.”

On that note, I dare everyone to take an awesome selfie and share with me on Twitter @feministabulous. I want to see your proud lovely faces! Screw modesty. We've been doing it for way too long.

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Elizabeth Plank

Elizabeth is a Senior Correspondent at Mic and the host of Flip the Script.

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