Friday, August 1, 2014
Why People Hate Selfies: Yes, It’s Sexism
Yes, the hatred of selfies is about misogyny. Specifically, it’s about the hatred of teenage girls. Can you name one thing that was made popular by teenage girls or is trendy mostly with teenage girls that isn’t derided and looked down upon and doesn’t have five thousand articles written about it by grown ass men who can’t stop obsessing about how terrible it is?
Let’s go the board.
Teenage girls start taking lots of pictures of themselves to share with friends because it’s fun? Narcissism. Self-obsession. Vapid, attention-seeking bullshit.
Firstly, the desire for attention from others is a universal human need that is not based on gender. Men desire attention just as much as women and just as much as non-binary individuals. The difference is that when men want attention, they tend to seek it through engaging in dangerous activities. So maybe we’re focusing on the wrong type of attention-seeking, perhaps?
But if you want to get at the root of why people hate self culture, you have to look at the deeply rooted patriarchal gender norms that have entrenched themselves so deep, most people will never notice them until they’re pointed out. And the norm at work here is about visibility and voice. Women are expected to be silent and invisible, to stay out of the spotlight and take up less space. If you fill a room up with half women and half men, it will be perceived as a crowd of mostly women. If a discussion is held and women speak exactly 50% of the time, people will feel like women dominated the conversation. True equality is perceived as being unfair to men. When women begin to make themselves visible and heard, there’s always pushback from men who feel as though they’re being robbed, as though the balance is off. When women start taking as many pictures of themselves as men do, it’s deemed “excessive” and narcissistic.
You know what I think of selfie culture? I think it’s fantastic. I love it. It’s a fucking revolution. Women are told to hide themselves constantly, and that to actually like themselves and the way they look is somehow wrong. They’re told that they’re never good enough, that any flaw is unacceptable. Narcissism? Fuck off, these girls are showing that, somehow, through all the bullshit and the pressure to hate themselves, they’ve managed to grow their self-esteem enough to share their faces with the world. They’re taking a risk and putting themselves out there. They’re expressing themselves. Sharing themselves. They’re making a statement, which is simply “I’m good enough to be seen.” And if you make one single teenage girl feel bad about doing this, you can go fuck yourself. No, I don’t care how many she posts. I don’t care if it’s dominating your fucking pitiful dashboard. If you don’t like it, that’s a whole lot of your problem.
Viewing selfies as I now do – as a revolutionary show of self-love – I’m delighted at every selfie I see. I click “like” or “favorite” or whatever on every single one I see. Especially if it hasn’t gotten any attention. If it has no likes, I will go out of my way to comment on how awesome and perfect it is. Because EVERY SELFIE IS FUCKING PERFECT AND WONDERFUL AND IF SELFIES ARE LITERALLY THE WORST THING ABOUT THIS WORLD THAT YOU CAN THINK OF THEN DON’T FUCKING TALK TO ME okay thank you and good night.