Is there anything that we as a society feel more justified in hating on than selfies? I mean, sure, someone can like how they look, that's great and all. but taking the time to position yourself in front of a well-lit window and take 15 to 35 photos of your own face? Not so cool. We hypothetically love to stand together arm-in-arm with fellow women and cheer each other on. "Love yourself! Feel good in your skin!" But somehow, selfies don't seem to fall into that category — unless you're Kim Kardashian, in which case you get a book deal and everyone just accepts that as totally normal.
Whether or not you've ever taken one yourself, something about selfies seems to invite shaming. Selfie-shaming, as ridiculous as it sounds, is a thing. Think about it: How often have you had a not-so-positive thought about someone after noticing how often they post selfies? They must be self-obsessed, have a lot of free time, or be desperate for attention, right? And they really, never ever look like that IRL. I get it. I've thought those ugly thoughts. I've posted a lot of selfies myself. And I've heard people's opinions on my selfies. So as a general #SelfieQueen and person who's tired of seeing humans be mean to each other for reasons as silly as this, let me tell you 11 things that people who take selfies are really tired of hearing.
1. "How do you have the time for that?"
Whether I spent 10 seconds or 10 hours putting together a selfie, it's really none of your business. Last weekend I spent, like, eight consecutive hours watching episodes of Naked and Afraid and determining whether or not I would do well on a survival competition show (my conclusion: absolutely not). How I spend my time is not something that should concern anyone else, no matter how productive or unproductive it seems.
If I spent 20 minutes choosing a selfie to post, and that makes me feel happy because I feel beautiful, then I think that's a pretty great thing. Life can be pretty rough. I welcome any chance to feel fabulous, and so should you.
2. "OK, so how many photos did you have to take to get that one?"
Ever since I wrote an article revealing the truth behind my Instagram posts, I get this question a lot. Yes, I take more than one selfie. When I wake up in the morning, I look (and feel, for that matter) more like the mugshot version of myself who just got arrested for stealing dozens of bags of Doritos from a Walmart at 3 a.m.* than the selfie/Instagram version.
Sometimes I take 20 photos before I find one I like. But I do the same thing with my food. I don't see anyone posting pictures of the cupcake wrapper they just licked clean. No, it's the gorgeous before of the cupcake. I shouldn't have to apologize for wanting and making the effort to look my best — whatever that means to me personally.
*This never actually happened. But I mean, I could see it.
3. "You look so different than you do in real life."
This one always gets me, because how do people really expect me to respond? "Oh, really? How so? More like Britney Spears circa 2007, when you were expecting 2000?" The thing about selfies is that no one is going to look the same in every moment of "real life" as they do standing in front of natural light with fake eyelashes and concealer on. In fact, I'm positive I don't look like my selfies most of the time. But that's OK with me.
If I've learned anything in the past few years, it's that looking your "best" and feeling beautiful don't have to be co-dependent. No, I won't look as Instagram-ready when I'm laughing so hard that my mascara runs down my cheeks, or when I'm hunched over my laptop Quasimodo-style, writing something that really inspires me. But there's something beautiful about those moments, too. Staged selfies and real life may not always look the same, but there's no reason both things can't make you feel beautiful.
4. "I don't think I could ever like my face that much."
Some days I look in the mirror and pick apart every detail — or more often, find a rogue freckle that I am soon convinced is going to kill me in a variety of ways presented so conveniently by WebMD — and just feel like crap. But on other days, I feel like a pretty amazing person with some kickass lipstick on, so I take a selfie, because I want to celebrate that moment. If selfies aren't your thing, that's fine! But I happen to think they're an excellent tool for body positivity and self-acceptance.
5. "You really know your angles."
This implies that I have a bad side, which is obviously false. I am stunning from all angles. Always.
OK, I'm kidding. This goes back to a lot of the other points. Chances are you know exactly which poses — whether it's a hand on the hip or standing up straight — make you feel the most confident.
6. "Wow, did you just take that photo by yourself? In public?"
Any good selfie-er knows that after a certain point, taking selfies in public isn't that terrifying anymore. It's just a helpful change of scenery. If I happen to be feeling pretty good about myself while I'm standing outside a conveniently beautiful building or monument, then so be it. It's easy to worry about what everyone else is thinking, but odds are no one really cares at all — except for maybe the person who made the dumb comment in the first place — in which case, you can send them this link and move fabulously along.
7. "You ALWAYS make that face!"
You know, I like a good duckface every now and then. No one ever faults Kim K for emphasizing her cheek bones, and if I'm taking advice from anyone when it comes to posting photos of myself, then I'm going to be honest, it's probably her.
8. "You're just so photogenic."
What this translate to is "Wow, you're so photogenic, because I swear you look nothing like that as you stand in front of me now and I stare at you and analyze your every pore and zit." OK, maybe it doesn't mean that exactly, but you get the idea. Go back to numbers three and five.
9. "Are you, like, obsessed with yourself?"
I don't think so, no. But maybe the world needs a few more people who are radically in love with themselves, you know? If the worst thing we can say about someone is, "My gosh, she really likes her face/clothes/body/style," then that's kind of a wonderful thing, actually. As women, we're taught to apologize for everything. "Sorry for being too direct, too bossy, too confident." But no one should have to feel like loving how they look one day warrants an apology to the world.
If you never take a selfie in your life, then that's totally fine with me. What works for me may not work for you, and that's cool in my book. Taking selfies is my way of celebrating a handful of moments when I feel great. And while I know that beauty goes beyond how I look or what I post on social media, I don't think there's anything wrong those tiny celebrations. And if you don't like it, you don't have to like it. Or follow me. Or say anything about it in general.