August 20, 2014

Have you ever noticed that it’s those who continually take photos of themselves in various states of undress who have the most followers on Instagram? I am sure this is not particularly surprising to anyone who has an Instagram account or ever followed someone in this day and age. Every Instagram account I look at lately is full of selfies, duck faces, false eyelashes, 3 inch thick make-up, a good old cleavage shot, the token bikini by the pool and some form of nudity. How unoriginal.

So I think we should be entirely ORIGINAL and start a revolution. This revolution involves people keeping their clothes on. I know! What a shocker.

Here’s a little something I prepared earlier.

That’s my revolution. I don’t think it’s ever been done before. What a revelation! A social media account void of nudity! No cleavage to be seen here! What? No legs shot by a pool in a bikini sipping a cocktail? What the hell? No shot of me in my “Lorna Jane’s” baring my emaciated stomach? God forbid. Instagram is going to lose its shit!

We (ie society) seem to have an unhealthy obsession with people, and seemingly women particularly, who have a penchant for taking their clothes off. Some have even learned to monetise it. Take your clothes off, take a selfie, post it on Instagram, welcome a bevvy of new followers, use that as leverage to attract sponsorship and advertising, repeat.

The queen of monetising the selfie. Kim Kardashian.

Fine though. It’s your body, your life, your prerogative. Whatevs. The most concerning aspect for me is that these images don’t just come with the usual descriptive text outlining what is going on in the image. Example:

“Here is me, drinking a cocktail by the pool, pretending my tan is real and that I’m having a fabulous time. Please envy me.”

What the images are coming with are some form of a passive aggressive plea for validation from their faceless followers as to their worthiness. It seems the more self-loathing the better. Example:

“Wish my diet would work. I try so hard. Can’t seem to get the 12 pack that Women’s Health told me is in this summer. I guess it’s lettuce for another week. :-(“

On cue the faceless masses now have a very clear direction to jump in and exclaim with a variety of happy and celebratory emoticons that the poster is “ah-mazing darling”, “STUNNINGGGGG!!!!”, “so hot right now” or any other varieties of responses that are going to reassure the poster that her stomach is “tight”, “drool worthy” and that she should be the centre fold in the next Zoo magazine.

I am going to preface my next comments with this. I love women of all ages, shapes and sizes. I firmly believe women should support women. If anyone has ever met me they will know how true this is. So I don’t want this post to be pointing the finger and blatantly outing a sister as a needy, desperate arrangement who doesn’t believe themselves to be whole unless they have received their daily dose of Instagram adoration. I am simply a concerned citizen who is hoping to point out the absolute ridiculousness of putting ourselves in the position of only feeling worthy when people we’ve never met before tell us we are.

So why do we do it? Are we that narcissistic? Desperate? Self-indulgent? Needy? Self-loathsome? Why do we need faceless followers to validate our very existence? It concerns me frankly as when I look around me, there are many young women partaking in this unhealthy sport and it’s worrisome.

I have a confession. I hate selfies. Yes, I have tried taking a selfie. Once. In the safety of my own room where no one could see my ridiculous antics. Because frankly they are ridiculous. Craning one’s neck to ensure one isn’t sporting a double chin, sending my eyebrows skyward so my forehead doesn’t look like Qantas could land a jumbo on it and then mindlessly trawling through all the filters Instagram has to offer so I can look as sunkissed as possible without actually having left my bedroom. It’s exhausting.

My best selfie yet! 

And the result has not been a work of art let me tell you. The result actually had me starting to formulate a belief that I don’t look good in photos. Would we agree this is not a particularly positive outcome? It’s important to me to look and feel good (albeit with clothes on) so when a photo of me doesn’t turn out, this presents quite the problem. I was left having to reassure myself that I’m “one of those people who looks better in real life” to balance out the numerous examples on my iPhone clearly demonstrating that I may not in fact, be the stunner, I have led myself to believe. And that was simply one time I didn’t like a few selfies I took. Imagine the outcome of doing this day in and day out?

You may be up in arms at this point, you selfie lover you, and indignantly thinking why did she do it then as she so clearly hates selfie’s? My answer is simple. I wanted to try it on for size. See if it fit. It didn’t. And it’s left me curious as to why we have become a society addicted to selfies? I know why I did it. It wasn’t for validation as I wasn’t ever going to post it on Instagram. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t go to a lot of trouble. I didn’t add extra make up, I didn’t change clothes ten times and I didn’t relocate my mirror to my ceiling to get the best angle so all in all, I probably didn’t put enough elbow grease into it. I guess taking the perfect selfie wasn’t that important to me. It did teach me one thing though. How long it actually takes to perfect a good angle and get ONE good shot. And that’s time you’re never going to get back ladies.

I have read posts of women who have taken more than 50 photos of themselves before they are happy with ONE photo. How draining. How time consuming. How boring! But why? So we can upload the ONE photo we are happy with to ALL our social media accounts #hashtagging the shit out of it, so everyone we’ve ever met and hopefully many we haven’t, comment on it to reassure us that yes, we are that good looking and that those extra 20 sit ups have really paid off. And sadly this seems to make that 45 minutes of taking photo after photo of ourselves worthwhile.

I think we are better than that. I think we have so much more to offer than baring our bodies and grasping for any sense of mindless validation simply because we live in a society that values beauty so highly. I am tired of seeing young women(and more mature ladies worryingly) pose provocatively sans clothes and distribute these images willingly to the world for all to see. You are worth so much more and taking your clothes off doesn’t increase this. It detracts from it and any other talent you possess which is not as visual as your bare flesh.

I propose ladies, that we keep our clothes on and celebrate that! I propose that we invest our time in a reading a book, starting an online course or I don’t know, volunteering at a charity because all of those activities would make for a far greater contribution to this world than a provocative pose.

So I invite you to join my #saynotoselfie revolution by posting a photo of yourself, fully clothed, and #saynotoselfies on your Instagram profile! Down with selfies!

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