Monday, November 25, 2013

Oh Jezebel Really? Again?

So yet again a writer at Jezebel has expressed their super edgy unpopular opinion all abut how entirely not empowering the selfie is.

I'm not going to play clickbait but I will say again, feminists this is why nobody wants to play with you.

Now let's talk about the selfie.

Essentially a selfie is you with your camera or camera phone showing the world a thing.

It might be your face, your outfit, your hair, your shoes, your butt whatever.

When it comes to people who are under or poorly represented in visual media (fat people, POC, Trans* people, not mainstream attractive people etc etc) when you stand on a soapbox and proclaim selfies to be unimportant you are doing a few things.

First you are riding the high horse of (let us be honest here) women do stupid things and this is a stupd thing so women don't do it anymore. Because most often criticism of the selfie is directed at people who present as or identify as women.

Second you are assuming that the person posting their selfie (I'll use myself, fat black queer blablabla) already has access to a lot of images of people who look like them.

Third you are being a fucking jerk.

Here's what this author and most criticisms of the selfie (including the sexy or naked ones) fail to understand.

Representation is very important. From Childhood through adulthood and beyond. A quick google search could give you probably thousands of stories about people who after being exposed to a lot of unretouched pictures of people like themselves have boosted self esteem. Ask some fatties who have been around fat fashion circles for a long time how it feels to know that yes, yes  fat people can and are doing fashion.

Ask any child of color how excited they are when they can see kids like them on tv.

This shit is not new and it is not that fucking hard.

The next thing is presentation.

If we assume that there is no power in presenting yourself to the world as you want to be seen, we can agree that no selfies really don't matter.

But there is more than ample evidence that having the self esteem, freedom and ability to express ourselves and present ourselves to the world like YEAH MOTHER FUCKERS HERE I AM, is vital.

Not only is it vital but it is what?

Absolutely the meaning of empowerment.

The pressure to be Thin White and Beautiful but not too beautiful is a hell of a thing. Those of us who are outside and far outside of the Western Beauty ideal (thin white and pretty) spend a lot of our lives either trying very hard to get in at least glancing distance of Thin White and Pretty or we spend a lot of time fighting that.

Now when a person decides no fuck that I am not doing that anymore that is powerful.

The no fucks given about your beauty ideals attitude is beyond liberating.

Taking it to the next level and really working and living that, super extra liberating.

Documenting that process and not only being there for yourself and your face or your ass or your tits, is being there for every person who spends hours trying to retouch themselves or shuns cameras entirely.

When I started posting pictures of myself on the internet years ago the first thing that happened was "friends"saying I was pretty but who would then photoshop me. They fixed my cheekbones, my skin discolorations, my make up, they slimmed me down, they did the things that society says we should do before showing ourselves to the internet.

What happened was I stopped taking pictures. I stopped showing my face because in this process of "refinement" I was being told very clearly that I was not good enough as I am.

That was also a time when I would not let people see me without my hair done and make up on. I was ashamed of my naked face.

That suffice to say fucked me up for a very long time.

And then something else happened.

I started wearing a lot of outrageous bold intense make up and taking pictures of myself.

I forced myself to look at my face.

I posted the pictures where you can totally see that I am slightly cock eyed, I posted the zitty face pics, the pictures where my foundation wasn't blended evenly.

I took them. I looked at them.

I learned that no my face is not the most terrible thing in the world.

I realized that other people felt that way about their faces.

These selfies before they were selfies helped me to begin the process of giving not on fuck about what people have to say about how I look.

I got a lot of hate mail. I got creepy fetish mail. People stole my photo in order to compare me to Biggie Smalls or put on bad make up blogs.

I got threatened. Someone decided to try and dox me. I was told I was going to be followed and raped.

Now fast forward to 2013.

As with all flavors of bullshit the good has meant more to me.

When a young (like a baby she could be my kid) Black girl messaged me on flickr telling me that she wanted to wear bright make up so bad but thought he was too dark and ugly until she saw my pictures made me cry.

When a person with a body very similar to mine saw an outfit post I did they sent me a message on LJ I think it was telling me that I gave them HOPE.

So what can a selfie do?

The selfie can save a life.

The selie can transform someone from thinking they are the worst to having some hope.

The selfie can teach us that we CAN show how human and weird looking we are and we can celebrate ourselves.

The selfie can put a whole new level of visibility on disabled people, fat people, POC, Queers, People with non normative bodies.

The selfie can make us feel fucking sexy.

It can become the bedrock of us learning that no, NO we do not have to adhere to or aspire to Whiteness.

So to that writer I say fuck you and your edginess.

To the rest of you I say take that selfie. Post the fuck out of it.

And I will conclude with a selfie and a small announcement at the end of this post. This one is from last week/couple of weeks ago. My phone is kind of broken so I didn't instagram it. I will let y'all know when I am instagramming again.

And an announcement.
I have started an official dedicated beauty blog. I want to focus on brown people but everyone can read it. that here on tumblr. And I believe you can get an rss feed for it but let me know if that doesn't work.

Also there are now 3 stories available for download in my etsy store.  And I am planning on rereleasing my self care guide at some point and as someone suggested I am probably going to put together a greatest hits from this here lil blog thing together.

Any suggestions for that? Favorite posts? I ill edit them a bit but I'll put them together.


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