As we currently live in the prevalent “Selfie-Era”, it is safe to say that my views on the subject are conflicted; if I were to count how many pictures I’ve taken of myself in the last few years I’d be able to plaster the walls with MyFace-Wallpaper.
According to the BBC – not that I can vouch for their reliability on statistics (or anything else for that matter) – 23,000,000 photos were found with the hashtag #Selfie and #ME attached. It’s apparent that the majority of social-networking users have consciously or unconsciously used media platforms to project a specific image of themselves. I must stress the word image here; as that’s all our lives in pictures will ever be: a depiction of a lifestyle or persona which we’ve shared with an audience.
This is a culture of self-invention: where we knowingly leave ourselves open to stereo-typical judgements and condemn the “lifestyles” of others. We tread shallow waters as we covet, compete and compare ourselves to falsified representations. I have a friend who’d spend hours admiring various women, sifting through Instagram profiles and obsessing over women who held no place in her life.
The fascination is no different in how we approach celebrity culture only, we appreciate celebrities based on their talent not their outer shell, right? It’s clear that young girls feel an amounting pressure to appear a certain way by adapting their looks through the mediums of of filters and beauty apps. It can’t be healthy for anyone to feel such immense gratification based on a number of Facebook ‘likes’.
Numerous people have commented how photogenic I am. I feel sad when I compare the relentlessly manipulated images with the girl behind the lens – I know that one is real and one is fake. The self-gratification received from Facebook and Instagram ‘likes’ has boosted my ego for a lengthy 3 seconds and then evaporated into further dimensions. An attention which is superficial and shallow does nothing for ones personal growth, if anything, it does the opposite by reinforcing hype.
Picture-taking can be addictive. I remember my first ever ‘Myspace’ page and the pleasure I felt being considered “beautiful”. In later years, dangerous beauty apps, Instagram filters and particular angles have forced me to scrutinize and pick myself apart. I’ve manipulated my face and body to the point that I am unrecognizable. And in the end I’ve just felt ugly.
My obsession with selfies became so intense that I started to see all things “wrong” with me. I feel into the Media’s trap of de-racialization and cloning; even contemplating cosmetic surgery…
To provide real insight, the before picture is untouched. My face is as it should be – left alone, no alterations. In the after picture, I’ve removed the bags from my eyes, refined my nose, jaw; enlarged my lips, brightened my eyes and added a filter. Wow. What a way to go from a seven to a ten.
I remember asking my mother what she thought about me getting a nose job and she burst into tears. Her words: “If you ever get your face done, I’ve done something very, very wrong”.
Sometimes when I look at my face I see all the ones I love: my dad, my grandfather, my aunts; my mother. Why on earth would I want to “fix” that? If the lines around my eyes or the shape of my nose map the history of my genetic roots then I guess the media can fuck itself. If I’m a ten it’s way beyond the mere surface of skin and no filter is ever going to change that.