She’s feeling confident, bold and beautiful.
While giving a sweet smile, she snaps a photo of herself using her front facing camera on her smartphone. She then writes a quick caption and presses the “post” button on her Instagram page.
This is just a typical scenario of a young woman sharing a selfie on social media. It seems harmless, right? Then why do we often see responses of criticism or quick judgments that the poster is “hungry for attention”?
Women who are confident in themselves or their looks are typically written off as narcissistic, egocentric and even “slutty.” A recent example is when Kim Kardashian posted a partially nude selfie March 7 on her social media accounts. She received harsh backlash including rude comments from followers and celebrities like, “If Kim wants us to see a part of her we’ve never seen, she’s gonna have to swallow the camera.”
Many people expect (and seemingly want) women to be insecure. Once a woman expresses confidence publicly through social media platforms, she is immediately called out by followers and even fellow female friends for her supposed “cry for help.” According to a Norton survey, about 76% of women under the age of 30 have experienced online harassment.
Those who are judgmental of confident women need to examine the root causes of their own behavior because women who show self-love through posting selfies on social media are participating in an extremely positive and empowering movement.
Women are heavily criticized on a day-to-day basis in entertainment media and advertisements, and thrown unrealistic messages as to what is considered “beautiful.” Therefore, it is crucial for women have a platform to voice themselves and their opinions. Selfies give women the ability to highlight a variety of body types, races, and cultures to a large audience that may not be as represented in mass media.
“Selfies make possible a vast array of gazes that simply were not seen before,” Peggy Phelan, an art and English professor at Stanford University, said in a 2014 Time Magazine article.
Selfies have the ability to celebrate lives by capturing everyday moods, activities, and events. Although there are a variety of angles and filters to skew the perception of a photo, celebrities like Demi Lovato created a popular hashtag, #NoMakeupMonday, a while back in order to encourage women to love and celebrate their natural look.
A more popular hashtag #WCW, also known as #WomenCrushWednesday, has also been used to support females for users to express their love, friendship or appreciation for their female peers.
Although there are several hashtags and movements to support women on social media, there needs to be more progression. So before thinking about writing an unnecessary comment on a friend’s photo, examine yourself about why you may feel this way. Will it benefit you in any way to respond negatively to someone else’s happiness? It’s important to find out where those feelings are stemming from in order to put an end to the behavior.
When in doubt stick to the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all.” However, always make an effort to show your peers, including women, a bit of love and positivity on social media.