Does This Selfie Make Me Look Fat?

The other day I was scrolling through Twitter (big surprise) and found a link to an article on HuffPost. The title grabbed my attention immediately: “Are Selfies A Digital Vehicle for Fat Talk?

At first I was like, “Ughhhh another person trying to blame social media for something ugh.” But I clicked the link anyway because I wanted to hear what the author had to say.

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Basically, the piece claims that selfies are acting as a way to perpetuate ideal beauty standards (keep in mind that the article kept the focus on women, but I am sure this is a trend with men, too). There are two ways that this happens, according to the article:

  1. Women will post a picture with the hashtags #nomakeup, #nofilter, or even #ugly.
  2. Women will only post selfies that are their “best” self (at a good angle, with makeup, etc.).

The author then continues to claim that, while different ways of going about it, these kinds of selfies aren’t really helping women at all. Sure, we might be pleased with the kind comments we receive or the responses like “omg you’re not ugly, you’re beautiful!” But in the end, we’re all participating in the same cycle that perpetuates the need for recognition and affirmation from others that our looks make us worth more.

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While I didn’t agree fully with everything the author had to say about selfies and their use in the digital world, I do agree with her overall message: the fat talk and constant need for approval has got to stop.

I’m guilty of this. I won’t lie to you. I say things like “Ugh I feel so fat today” often. More recently, I respond to “Your hair looks great!” with a “Really??” because when I get that approval from others, I feel like I belong.

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I’m also guilty of letting others do this. I have one friend in particular who feels the need to apologize or make excuses to me when she eats something like pizza or says she skipped the gym. I respond with something like, “Oh pshhh that’s nothing, the other day I…” when really I should be saying, “You don’t need to search for approval from me. I will like you whether you eat ten plates of spaghetti or don’t work out for a week. I think you are great. You should think you are great.”

So why is it so hard to break the cycle of fat talk? I can’t give you that answer. I think humans have a deep-seeded need to belong, and one way we do that is through things like “fat talk.”

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What I can tell you is that I am going to make a better effort to try to cease my own self-deprecation. I’m going to post less flattering selfies, but I’m not going to stop posting good ones, either. I’m going to work harder to pull my friends out of the “fat talk” cycle.

Be Your Own Self

You are worth a lot. You don’t need the approval of others to be your best self. All you need to do is be your own self. Surround yourself with others who not just accept but love that self.

Question of the Day:
No question, just your thoughts.

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24 comments

  1. That’s really interesting about selfies. I generally find that MOST selfies that I take aren’t that great. I think it’s because, unless your taking a picture in front of a fixed camera, like a computer camera, or a camera with a tripod, the angle practically BEGS for a terrible picture. Of ANYONE, even the most beautiful person in the world. So I don’t post them (or take them) because why they heck would I WANT to put up any picture that requires the hashtag “ugly”? That being said, I can totally see the point of the article as well as the point you are making about it. I can’t stand fishing for compliments. I agree with you – it’s important for YOU to be confident in who you are, because NO ONE else can do that for you.

    1. Yes, I don’t really think I would ever post a picture with the hashtag ugly. I think it’s pretty uncalled for. I definitely have fished for compliments before but I really just don’t get why I continued to do so. If I love myself, then I won’t need to do that, which is what I am working toward.

  2. LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Seriously, you are amazing and THANK YOU for talking about this. I definitely used to be concerned with the way I looked in selfies but that kind of went out the window when I just stopped caring. I rarely wear makeup, do my hair or put effort into my outfits and that’s exactly what I want to portray in my pictures, me.

    1. I would say I do a happy medium with makeup, etc. but I think this post can even relate to non-selfie pictures. There have been countless times when I untag myself in pics because I think I look bad, but it’s not like that stops those photos from existing! Thanks for the thoughts!

  3. I’m not a selfie fan personally (I do enjoy seeing others in moderation though) but I LOVE this post. Everything you said is so true and it’s such a bad cycle we’ve gotten ourselves into. I never wear makeup so if there are pictures of me online, they are always natural, but I would never post #ugly or #makeupfree or #nofilter or anything like that. I don’t understand the self-hate and bashing. It’s not an attractive quality girls have although I know I’m guilty of it at times too. Thank you for this take on selfies, it’s amazing.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah. I’m glad you liked the post. I don’t think I could ever post hashtag ugly or whatever. That’s just going overboard in my opinion. I’ve seeked out compliments before but those can be superficial. You’re right, self-bashing is definitely one of girls’ most unattractive qualities. It’s such an oxymoron, too, because we’re looking for confidence boosts but it’s just doing the opposite.

  4. I like to see pictures of all kinds. I do not care if a person is made up or not. I keep pictures that my wife feels are horrible. It is not when we are at our best that shows who we are, it is all the time over time that reveals it. You are cute as can be and the lighting, the makeup, the dress, the hair, etc. do not change that. The person underneath is what matters and that is who comes out no matter the picture.

    1. Very true. It’s difficult because we place so much importance on appearance as a society, and of course I want to look and feel like my best self, but if I have to get approval from others, I’m not really being my best self at all.

  5. Loved this post, girl, and loved seeing your goofy AND gorgeous selfies. I used to be really uncomfortable with posting selfies, but after going on a few sprees to force myself out of my comfort zone, I have to admit that I’ve become pretty indifferent to them… heck, I actually kind of like hyphen because it helps me make more of a connection with others instead of them just being random voices behind a computer screen. I do love the approach of posting both pretty and goofy ones though — we’re all human after all 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Amanda! Your selfies are amazing. I have been loving those posts. As humans we have many sides, and I think that selfies can be a good way to show all of those sides, as long as we know that no one has to approve of us to be happy with ourselves.

  6. This is such a thought-provoking post! I definitely have issues with posting ‘selfies’ – always wanting to post flattering ones and if I think it’s not particularly flattering, I’ll point it out. Definitely not necessary at all! I do need to become more comfortable with sharing pictures, whether they’re super-flattering or exactly the opposite.

    1. Thank you for reading it! I am so so so guilty of untagging myself in things because I don’t look good, but in reality, it’s just a moment in time. I know that I don’t look that way all of the time, so I am trying to work on loving myself in all my moments.

  7. Great posts and great thoughts. I’m not a selfie girl in the sense that I take photos of myself to post but I like posting pictures of myself – ones that I am confident about. I think I do look for a little affirmation but I never ASK for it. I don’t call myself ugly or fat, etc. on social media. I may text you once a week lamenting about my weight (that is perfectly normal and healthy and on the skinny side as far as a national average is concerned).

    I had never thought about all that negative self-talk before… now I’m going to look at selfies so much differently. Pshh no make-up. Those girls should see me every day haha.

    1. I think it’s definitely in girl-nature to tell each other when we feel fat, gross, etc. but I don’t think we’re doing each other any good if we answer with a scripted “oh you’re not fat” etc. What you said about being a healthy weight is good,though, since you recognize that you aren’t really how you’re feeling in that “fat” moment. Haha yeah the no-makeup thing gets me.. I wear minimal make up soooooo.

  8. “You don’t need to search for approval from me. I will like you whether you eat ten plates of spaghetti or don’t work out for a week. I think you are great. You should think you are great.” – will you be my friend & tell me straight up how it is.? 🙂 Seriously, this post was awesome. You’re adorable & spoke my feelings on this topic.

  9. I agreeeee with everything you said here. I’m so guilty of doing the “oh that’s not bad, I did this…” to make people feel better, when you’re absolutely right. I should say something more like “I’ll like you no matter what you eat or how often you workout”!

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