The selfie allows us to create caricatures of ourselves for online audiences, similar to that of self portraits and the self portrait artist, it is this power of the selfie that we, as women, can (and do) harness. Each selfie a woman takes, even if there is no more thought in it that “I look pretty” imbues power, it is, inherently a feminist act. For a woman to take a selfie, to decide that the composition, the light, the aesthetics are ‘on-point’ is to use our own agency and power.
Although the press has touted selfies as ‘narcissistic’, is this because we are not seeing the history? As mentioned previously, it was, at one point, commonplace to pay for a portrait to demonstrate wealth and social standing, is taking a selfie not the same? Is it because women are more likely to take a selfie that we class selfies as narcissistic? Women, in controlling the lens that is facing them, are pushing for the world to view women differently, and this is not changing anytime soon.
For all the derisive comments centred at women who do take selfies, women are still taking, and sharing their own self-portraits. Some women are using this to support others, some are sharing as part of political discourse. They are fat, black, scarred and damning the idea of the women we usually see in the media, they are using their bodies and their photographs to effect societal change, and shouldering the emotional labour this takes, too. These women are demanding that they are to be seen, having been hidden by societal standards for too long, and I support them.
Long live the selfie, and all who take them.