Love OUR Self(ie)
Almost two weeks ago, I messaged 20 of my female Facebook friends and asked them to send me 2 things: a photo without any makeup, and a caption describing how they feel or what they like about themselves. Within 60 seconds of sending the message, I had about 4 people leave the conversation, and within the 24 hour period to follow, I had another 4 leave as well. It had only been one day, but my social experiment was well in progress.
I once read that 1 in 4 women are dissatisfied with their reflection, and 1 in 2 women are dissatisfied with their reflection when “bare” (naked, no makeup). This is an astounding statistic that really resonated with me. As many of you know I am a dedicated Gender Studies student, and my fascination for The Beauty Myth and representations of women in the media has grown more as time has gone on.
There is currently a cancer fundraising ‘trend’ on social media sites using the “selfie” photo and the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie. The original concept came about in an effort to raise awareness of cancer. Two main arguments I’ve heard about the no makeup selfie and how much it has taken off is this: women either find it empowering to show their bare, true beauty, or women find it as a way to seek attention. For the record, this post is in no way related to raising awareness on fighting cancer (however I do support such movements), but rather to show my take on The Beauty Myth and how it is still alive and well.
Now I know what you’re thinking: she is going to tell us how going without makeup is empowering. Wrong. I want to create a call to action for women to stop hating on other women. I find it absolutely appalling that as soon as I log into Facebook I see one photo of a beautiful 40-something mom, embracing her natural beauty and posting something about her experience with the #NoMakeUp selfie trend. Then the next post is a 20-something either posting their own selfie, or ranting away about how women are just seeking attention for their “bare” photos, and that they are losing the purpose of the campaign. Why are women hating on each other?! When a man (or woman) posts a mustache photo for Movember it’s acceptable and never frowned upon as a way for someone to seek attention or not supporting the true cause. Plus the marketing strategist in me is thinking this: regardless of why these women are posting these photos, they are social ambassadors for the real campaign, bringing awareness to the cause… free PR!
So what is the Beauty Myth about anyways? It’s not just the ways in which women are represented in the media, but it’s also about a woman’s hatred for other women.
“The beauty myth is always actually prescribing behaviour and not appearance.” – Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
So in the next 2, 10, or 30 minutes you’ll spend on this post, I ask you this: What does beauty mean to you? Why do we hate on other people so much instead of loving them and encouraging them in the things they choose?
I recently found this blog post via TEDx: 6 Talks on Beauty… provides an interesting perspective on the variety of ways we can few beauty as a concept, and individuals as beautiful people.
I would like to end today’s post by recognizing some of the many beautiful women in my life (3 of the 12 that responded with a photo)… I think we all need to take a step back from the #LoveMySelfie business, and try to #LoveOurSelfie’s…