This entire article is superficial.
It is, because, in some way, everything is.
We have to be, because everything we see is initially superficial. The discovery of depth takes time, and we are currently bound to a society obsessed with the ‘instant’. Superficiality is part of the way we live, and even once the depths are discovered, those depths are still connected to a superficial surface and it would thus be naïve and wrong to reject surface appearance, to an extent.
The selfie, to me, is a complex riddle and representative of this surface. It is the way we choose to present ourselves, in a light that is of entirely our own direction. It’s kind of empowering and also kind of terrifying. It is both a comfort and a burden to know that you are entirely in charge of your own appearance.
The reality is that I’m not always impressed with my face and body in the mirror, and sometimes it is only through a carefully posed image that I start to look at myself with some glimmer of acceptance, and it is only through social media that I can present myself in a way that I think people will like. There’s a lot of stigma attached to the selfie but I think they are bold, beautiful and brave as fuck.
HELL YEAH I am taking a bomb ass photo of myself and you BETTER LIKE IT because I took about 73 to get this one perfect.
I think as humans, the notion of a selfie is deeply rooted in self-esteem. The fact that we do not see ourselves as always perfect, but hope that other people will like us; the fact that we have bad days and cannot find esteem within ourselves, means we must find it from other people. Personally, I do this all of the time. Maybe this isn’t the same for everyone, but I for one find it virtually impossible to see myself in a positive light unless someone else tells me – and there isn’t inherently anything wrong with that. How we build our self esteem should be up to us all individually.
I upload in the hope that cutting off my forehead, pouting, and adding a yellowing filter will make my head look smaller, my eyes bigger and my skin clearer. And that in turn, people will like my upload and make me, like me. Each ‘like’ becomes both an extension and devaluation of my own ego.
I do not wish to propose some answer to the paradoxes that pervade human nature. I simply wish to point out that surfaces of superficiality lie deeper than what meets your eye on screen, and that we should try to like ourselves more, and impress other people less.
I think selfies are a 21st-century art form and should be appreciated for the courage it takes to put yourself out there, to say HEY LOOK AT ME and wait for the world to react. Or not react. Whatever. The human body is an art form and we all need to seriously remember that. We need to stop objectifying and criticising it, and bring it back to art; the days of women lounging naked on sofas and men wearing feathers being painted for hours; humans made to feel as special and beautiful as they are.
‘It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors’ – Oscar Wilde
Follow @geesmall for selfies of the author.
& CHECK OUT @geesmall.art FOR PROJECT SECRET SELFIE!