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.
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:
- Women will post a picture with the hashtags #nomakeup, #nofilter, or even #ugly.
- 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.