Friday, August 1, 2014

Why People Hate Selfies: Yes, It’s Sexism

Bill Nye Selfie
A lot of people probably rolled their eyes at that title, but not as hard as I roll my eyes whenever I see anyone lamenting “selfie culture” as though it’s the worst thing to come out of our society since slavery. Or the cries of “narcissism” by those who clearly don’t understand how pathological narcissism operates. Take it from the psych nerd – it’s more than thinking you’re hot and wanting attention.

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.

Men create photo series of them sitting around looking sad in black and white? Art. Men write articles and essays and stories and novels and poetry and songs and operas and movie scripts about how hard it is to be men and how deep they are and existential angst and blah, blah, blah? Art. Men spend hours sitting in the same spot so that a portrait of their boring faces can be painted by a professional who charges them hundreds of dollars? Art.

Teenage girls start taking lots of pictures of themselves to share with friends because it’s fun? Narcissism. Self-obsession. Vapid, attention-seeking bullshit.

Fuck that.

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.

No Fucks Nicki

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.


FormerlyLisaS said...

I've been spending my afternoon reading back through your posts. I love them all but I LOVE this one. Long live the selfie.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Thank you!!

Lindsey Weedston said...

So people do something more now because it's easy and fun rather than costing a fortune and making you sit still for ten hours? SHOCKING.

If only you got this passionate about things that were actually wrong with the world and used that time to help people rather than ranting about how selfies make you mad on my blog.

Just for that, I'm going to blog even more.

Lindsey Weedston said...

PS. You're banned for using obvious ableist slurs. Have a nice day.

maudite said...

Meh, narcissism is shallow regardless of gender

Lindsey Weedston said...

Firstly, you clearly have no idea what narcissism is, please stop using that word forever.

Secondly, if you're not going to read the post, please don't comment on it.

YouAreAFuckingIdiot said...

You are the most astoundingly disgusting, vile and moronic person I have ever encountered on this site, and a disgrace to feminism. And yes, I am a teenage girl. Please stop spewing liquid shit, if you love "selfies" so much you're frankly a solipsistic arsehole, boy or girl. Gender has fuck-all to do with it, I judge exactly the same for both. The patent difference between self-portraits by artists and "selfies" is obvious as shit, the fact you are so willfully blind to the differing intentions of the two proves to me that you do not possess even one iota of intelligence. "Selfies" are all about the need for self-validation and attention, and ARE vacuous and moronic. They're also rather sad, and are illustrative of how girls are so desperate to be assured they're "pretty" as a result of our somewhat sexist culture. Artistic self-portraits are not intrinsically linked with vanity and the need for attention; they are merely the result of artists using themselves as their subjects. They're not cries for likes or compliments, they're just something for them to paint. Pretty fucking certain Van Gogh didn't title his self-portrait with "Feelin well prettayy today lol. Yah or nah??? rate me out of 10?? tnx xoxo". You fucking infantile airhead.

P.S. Feel free to censor me because of your pathetic "ab3L1SM!!1" bullshit. Tell me, are you significantly disabled? And if so, do you want to kill yourself every time you hear the word "stupid"? You out-of-touch fuck, try working/living with some actual disabled people, like I do. How dare you be so arrogant, thinking you can spew such trite in the name of others. Check your own fucking privilege.

ShadowFlower15 said...

For me, it has nothing to do with sexism. I'm just really sick of random people's pictures showing up on my feed on every single social media website ever, whether they be of a male, a female, or someone who doesn't conform entirely to one of those 2 groupings. No matter how many people I unfriend/unfollow and how many posts I block, they keep showing up. I'm extremely tired of seeing them...unless they're actually entertaining, of course, but those are few and far between.

(I will make exceptions for special occasions such as Blackout Day, though. Those are fine.)

Lindsey Weedston said...

Have you tried Twitter? I don't see many selfies on Twitter. If you're on Tumblr you can also blacklist the word "selfie."

ShadowFlower15 said...

Thanks for your recommendation; I hope I don't see too much of that stuff there.
Also, most of the selfies I see on tumblr aren't tagged with anything at all (most of them are reblogs) and it annoys the hell out of me.