To thine own selfie be true

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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With the advent of instant messaging and social media, a selfie has not only become a common way to show off a new haircut, but the word has actually managed to makes its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

Samantha Emann

By Samantha Emann, special to the Times-Herald

Twerk and Google – as in using the search engine’s name as a verb – have also joined selfie in the death (or evolution, depending on how you look at it) of the English language. 

Recently a new selfie trend has emerged that has the blogs and Facebook universe all a-Twitter.  It came to my attention when I was nominated by a friend to do a “naked face” selfie.  I didn’t know what it was but I was flattered.

I saw that it meant I had to take a picture of myself without any make up and not try and pass it off as a really great Halloween costume, best used for scaring small children. In actual fact, I love make up but do not wear it on a regular basis. I love make up, I just love sleeping in more. 

I also do not post a lot of selfies, so I didn’t immediately want to do it.

But then, I thought, ‘Oh, what hell, I’ve lost a few pounds lately (10 to be exact), so why not?’ 

I posted a picture of myself and tagged a few friends. I did it without really putting much thought into it or the reasons why. 

It turns out that a couple women started the naked face campaign to protest the cosmetics industry and its negative effects on the self-esteem of women and girls.

Pretty soon people were posting selfies and tagging their friends and attributing their selfie to being nominated, getting donations for cancer or just doing it for the fun of it. And you know what? There isn’t a single thing wrong with any of those reasons.

There has been some criticism of this particular selfie trend, seemingly more than the duck face trend which mystifies me, that says it is not empowering, is in fact doing more harm than good and is useless. To the critics, I say stop taking yourselves so gosh darn seriously.

I consider myself to be an empowered, independent, free-thinking woman who is strong enough not to succumb to certain societal pressures. Just because you do a naked face selfie does not mean you hate make up or think it is a bad thing for women to wear it. Make up is fun and is a form of expression.

If you choose not to wear make up, great – that just means more money in your wallet.  If you choose to wear make up, that’s great too, and you are no less empowered than the next woman.

As things usually do, it boils down to choice. That is the lesson I would want to teach the younger generation and the message that I would want to send with my selfie.  And I think that some people are using a common picture taking method to tell a story or convey a message.

I like this trend because it gives people an actual reason to post a selfie that is not to show how big their lips are or how much cleavage a 13-year-old can show without making it look like she is trying to do so or how impressive their six pack is every time they go to the gym. 

Whether it is to get donations for a good cause, because it makes you feel empowered or you just want people to comment how pretty you are without make up, why can’t this be for whatever reason a person wants?

To the people getting in a huff about a few selfies I say this: if it is for all or one or none of the above reasons that people are taking selfies it’s ok, it won’t cause any harm to you or the female gender. And it might mean fewer duck face photos.

One can hope.

Organizations: Google

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