Edit: I made a 365feministselfies album on Flickr.
I friend of mine mentioned the existence of something called the #365FeministSelfie. The understanding was that it was a response to the media representation of women and we thought that it could be helpful form the self-confidence perspective (more on this below).
Being the librarian that I am, I did a little digging and found what seems to be the beginning of the #365FeministSelfie at Viva La Feminista. The idea came to Veronica (the blogger in question) after seeing a post by Jezebel shaming selfies and realizing that selfies were under attack and considered narcissistic. To her, there was room for positive selfies, including pictures of people who are various sizes or genders. Essentially, pictures that say “I do not meet the defined form of ‘acceptable’ but I’m here and I’m worthy.” These are also reflected with the hashtag #feministselfie, the only difference being that you’re supposed take a picture daily for a year to make it #365FeministSelfie.
In Veronica’s description of the #365FeministSelfie idea, she quoted James Franco, who was criticized for taking what was perceived to be too many selfies:
Attention is power.
Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for charges of self-involvement, but, in a visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing.
In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”
I like his take on things. Yes, I admit that I can’t help thinking that some people who take a tonne of selfies are narcissistic, but that’s based on my own prejudices and not on fact. For example, while thinking about this project, I realized that I assume that people who are “done up” (people who put time and effort into looking fashionable, who wear lots of make-up, etc.) and who take lots of selfies are narcissistic, but people who look like regular folk are just people doing a selfie project or something. That’s really unfair of me. All people, regardless of how much time they take to pretty themselves up in the morning, are capable of narcissism, self-confidence, lack of confidence, etc. And, everyone has a right to do a photo project or just to share pictures of themselves because they feel like it. My judgement is harsh and unfair, and it does a disservice to myself and my feminist ideals (after all, feminism says that all are equal and valued, regardless of whether they decide to do things that are counter to or conform to the media’s ideals).
As noted in Veronica’s description of the project, selfies can be an expression of self love (which we all deserve) and we should all be allowed to share photos of us as we experience happiness.
Am I going to join in? Yes. Admittedly, I’m nervous (maybe even outright scared) because I’ve spent the last 20+ years avoiding pictures as much as possible. I’m “big” and I have the skin of a teenager (spotty), both of which make me feel very self-conscious. I think there will be a lot of days (especially in the beginning) when I will hate and try desperately to avoid having to take a picture of myself and I know that it will be a long time before I can work up the courage to take a random candid that might possibly show even the tiniest portion of my overweight body, but I’m going to try. My friend and I are both people who are better at committing to something if we have someone to commit to, so I agreed to join her and I’m going to do my best to keep up with daily selfies. Maybe, after a while of being forced to see myself daily and in different way, I may stop running from cameras and start seeing the positives and the beauty of everything that is me. I hope that, by confronting myself like this, I can finally start finding some self-acceptance and self-confidence when it comes to this part of me that I’ve always tried to keep hidden: my physical self.
So, be prepared, my friends, you are going to see a whole bunch of pictures of me. I will try to make them interesting and innovative, at least on occasion, but you may just see a lot of my face for a while :)
In the meantime, here’s my first #365FeministSelfie: me being annoyed at the heat and this week’s schedule (meetings, meetings, meetings).