Friday, January 31, 2014

Self love, Self-expression and Selfies

I’ve seen “Selfies” in the media a lot lately… and by that, I mean the subject of selfies. The internet seems to be locked in a debate, and given the recent trend of “funeral selfies, ” empowerment project selfies, post-baby-looking-amazing selfies, and selfies with homeless people, I understand the hubbub. 

One side seems to view the photographs as a reflection all that is wrong with our new digital, all-sharing, narcissistic culture, while the other side sees them as self-portraits, an artistic documentation of life’s journey that can empower the picture-taker to epic proportions. 
So who’s right? Well, actually, they both are.... somewhat.

First of all, “selfies” are not a new phenomenon. 

Artists have been painting their own likeness for centuries, with it really picking up in the mid-15th centuries due to the production of cheaper and better mirrors.

And then photographers did the same on film.


So, taking one's self-portrait is really nothing new. Artists have used this medium to express themselves, and the public not only accepted them as art, many are quite valuable. 

Artistic-Selfies will always be accepted because they're cool, and kind of like a job. And with editing programs like Photoshop, these creative artsy, photographer types are making works that create buzz and get loads of media attention. How many of these photos have you seen while trolling cyberspace?
Another acceptable form of self-portraiture is the Adventure-Selfie ... you know, those that show people far cooler than you, doing things that are way cooler than you'd ever do, and you tell yourself "I could do that!".. but really, you just live vicariously though their photograph.

Speaking of acceptable selfies, we need to add the Project-Selfie to the list. These include weight-loss/health, travel, empowerment, documenting struggles and real-life issues, pregnancy stages, DIY's, and so forth. 

Now, other than the Personal Family-Selfies, which are meant to keep family updated on social media outlets and therefore up to snuff with most folks, there is the Brand/Fan-Selfie, posted by our favorite celebrities and meant to entertain us, or invite us in to their little world. These photos help the celebrity to grow their image, and we usually accept those photos that are interesting, humorous, or behind-the-scenes.

Now, don't you feel just a bit more connected to those celebrities you give your hard-earned money to in the form of concert and movie tickets, paying for cable television, and buying their music? And I'm sure that those personal family photos also endear you more to grandma and grandpa now cause they can see what you're having for dinner or how cute the kids look in their Halloween costumes.

Like I said... these are all acceptable. 

Finally, we come to the last publicly accepted form of self-photography: The Funny Selfie.

Everyone loves a good laugh, and the cat and dog mustaches do just that.

Okay... so that's my list of what I consider selfies that get big thumbs up from critics and fans alike. Self-portraits for the purpose of art, humor, marketing, sharing, documenting, explaining, and making ourselves look super-awesome cool - get a big YES!

So now, what self-pics are just a bunch of crap and give all others a bad rap? Let's make a list.

First of all, we have the Celebrity WTF Selfie.

Look, I know it must be soooo (ugh) hard to live in the public eye, but honestly... when paparazzi are NOT up in your business, do we really need to see you naked in a chair or just out of the shower? We want to see you in movies or on stage. Lying in bed naked or soaped up in a shower is kinda much. Get over yourself.

Toilet Selfies. Do I even need to explain this one? Just stop doing it... especially the trend of photographing OTHER people within your selfie. Honestly, if you do this when I'm in the room, just be ready for a punch in the face.

The All Public Toilet and People Selfie                                                       Sitting on the toilet selfie

Standing in the Toilet Selfie             Turd in the Toilet Selfie         Someone else is on the toilet selfie

Then there's the selfies that are plain stupid (unless the ass pic was on purpose, then brave! Move up to the humor section.)
I just stole something selfie                 Not understanding what sexy is selfie    You're an ass selfie

What about the bad parenting selfies?? Must you really have your child snap a photo of you with your ass hanging out? Or what about all the mirror selfies and there's a kid in the background? If you honestly think a child hanging from your chest makes your ass look sexier, you may be next on the CPS's visitation list.

This set is about actually LOOKING at your photo before you post it. Does your editing job look real? Is there a sex toy in the background? These are the things you need to know before park that pic permanently into cyberspace (this applies to turds in the toilet too.)
                              Bad at Photoshop selfie      

Duck lips... we need NO more duck lips. No, it's not a sexy look, it doesn't make your lips look sexier. You actually look really dorky. Stop it.
                               (Girl in the middle is both duck lipped and funeral selfie. Sigh...)

Here we have more "What we you thinking" selfies. First is sexy underage. A big no no. The second is someone with their head in the fish tank. This person has NO idea what the hell he's doing. Someone take that phone out of his hand pronto. And the last shows 2 poor saps photographing themselves sleeping, which is sad on it's own, but then they post that their "girlfriend" took it. Double sad. And this happens with women too. Don't think I haven't see fake "my Boo" posts... cause I have.
Put some clothes on! selfie             I've ran out of ideas selfie

And now, the people who REALLY need those cell phones slapped out of their hands, and then a slap upside the head. Yes, there are people out there photographing themselves with dead or dying loved ones, and homeless people. I agree that these particular photos ARE bad for the world in general, and if people would start a petition around town asking to publically flog these individuals, I would sign it.
I'm a horrible human being - because people are dead or dying in the background of my selfie - selfie

I'm not even including all the photos that people post of themselves - usually looking up, gazing wide eyed into the lens, while sitting in front of a window, hair perfect, trying to act like it's just any ordinary day and you didn't just take 20 photos (and then edit a few of them) to get that one perfect photo that says to the world " This is me... I'm not conceited. I just wanted to say hello to the world." There are so many of them. Way too many. And that's probably what's really pissing everything off -- the sheer volume of selfies posed in the exact same way.

And in case you were wondering if I had a favorite selfie, the answer is yes.

So go out and empower yourself, share your life, and document your journey! Show us your selfies and brush away all the naysayers!

But remember: social media is a wonderful thing, but it is eternal. Don't be the butt of everyone's jokes -  keep your ass (and your kids) out of the frame, dildos off the desk, and flush before you start posing. And don't ever, EVER take a funeral selfie.

Until next time, stay gorgeous!

Terri Jean


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