November 8, 2013 by panicpony
Today I was sitting in my car, thinking about how cold and rainy it was, sipping a latte and dawdling because I was too cozy. As most people do when they have the slightest second of down time I pulled my phone out and checked in on all the social media stuff I had missed out on since the last time I had pulled out my phone (about ten minutes earlier). For some reason, I decided to take a photo of myself. This is pretty rare for me. I have to be a particular mood mixture of confidence, apathy, and vanity to take a selfie.
It took about another ten minutes. I probably took about ten photos until I got it just right. There was so much to consider. Did it show my double chin? (I don’t actually have one). Do I look too old? Am I going to be able to filter this one to hide my weird bag wrinkly eyes? My nose is like a potato! Oops, did duckface in that one. That one hides my double chin, but shows other parts of my body (like the area between my chin and my cleavage?!) that I really hate. OH MY GOD I HATE MYSELF I AM THE WORST BUT I’VE GONE TOO FAR I’LL JUST POST THIS ONE.
I hate pictures of myself. I am scared of any permanence that might make me victim to the male gaze. Or the female gaze. Or anybody’s gaze. I’m afraid of my own gaze.
Constant photo updates are just a part of our lives now. And the reactions to this are revealing. There are forums on reddit dedicated to dissecting individual photos of women and girls doing duckface, with the comments including a lot of violence. From men. Who are like, this bitch should be murdered because of her duckface. Really. We now have a whole new level of bullying. You can harass the person you just got done harassing at school, online! You can pick apart their photos while telling them they should probably go kill themselves and then get like 40 other people to do it too. And what if somebody posts a revealing photo? What a dumb whore! Lets ruin her life with sending it out in a mass email!
These are all extremes, but they are just new shades of the same old slut shaming, bullying, violence, phobias, and isms that are perpetuated in 3D life. We deal with smaller assaults like this every day. A complete stranger once went out of her way to message me on Facebook to tell me I looked like a “tranny”. What does that even mean? (And whatever it means I personally don’t find being trans an insult). People tell us to smile as we’re walking down the street. Don’t smile and you risk being called a bitch. There’s the subconscious tension of being dismissed because you’re not making the right social or economic signals and the subtle way the stratas of our society are taught to bully because of that. And there’s the really sad reality that we’ve been conditioned to look in the mirror and see only flaws and weaknesses. This culture makes it a really stressful place to post a picture of yourself. Or get up in the morning.
I’m sure I could find all kinds of folks who think the problem is the cameras themselves, the forums where we post them, and mostly, the dumb people who decide to expose themselves. It’s not. It’s the fault of a culture that allows people to be bigots and assholes, and raises up more bigots and assholes.
And really, we have no place to hide. I can either have somebody call me a “tranny” on Facebook or a bitch on the street. What did I do to deserve either? I existed.
There’s no big point to this post. I was just thinking about this today and wishing I liked myself more, and then got to wondering about why I didn’t. I’m pretty divided about it. I really like myself about half the time and have nothing but self doubt the other half. I think maybe I’ll post a selfie a day for a month instead of that gratitude thing everybody’s doing. I like that better. Selfies of my bulges and potato nose! I like me!
I haven’t blogged for awhile guys! I realized that I always try to make everything I write momentous, because you know, I’m a writer. I HAVE A DEGREE. Whatever. I want to blog about makeup and selfies and baking and leggings as pants too. Now that I’ve lightened up about myself you might see a little more of me!