This is pretty interesting article from one of my least favorite websites. I picked it up off a Facebook share.
The points about anonymous commenting and attacks on women online have already been pretty well mined, I think. Not that interesting. She did a good job making her poses and facial expressions match the quotes she used, but nothing revolutionary. I'm more interested in some of her views on selfies. I see more and more think-pieces about the nature of the selfie every month. This is an issue our culture will have to confront.
Do you agree with Bottos that,
Bottos wrote:People say selfies are a cry for help or a cry for attention, but wanting attention isn’t bad.
How do you feel about seeking anonymous attention over the Internet? Is wanting attention wrong? When does "attention-seeking" become the problematic "attention-whoring"? Are selfies a positive form of attention for women? For anyone?
Here is her final analysis of the power of selfies:
Bottos wrote:The act of women taking selfies is inherently feminist, especially in a society that tries so hard to tell women that our bodies are projects to be worked on and a society that profits off of the insecurities that it perpetuates. Selfies are like a ‘fuck you’ to all of that, they declare that ‘hey I look awesome today and I want to share that with everyone’ and that’s pretty revolutionary.
This seems to me to be her analysis of the highest aspiration of the selfie. The idealized selfie, if you will. That it comes from a place of confidence and respect and control and is therefore a symbol of self-empowerment. But does a workout selfie at the gym say to the world that your body is not to be worked on? Does a selfie of a bunch of girls in cocktail dresses doing duckface say "I want to share my positive self-image with everyone I know"? To call the medium "inherently feminist" is totally fucking lazy and uncritical. You might make the argument that selfies are feminist because they give individual women control over their own image, but that's an argument to be made, not assumed. What about the flipside that selfies are anti-feminist because they help perpetuate the idea that women should be defined by their looks?
The last big piece I read about selfies was James Franco's op-ed in the NYT, which you can find here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/arts/the-meanings-of-the-selfie.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1391562232-FdyYwn8nEM1clYhKrBWioQ.
He has a few different views about what selfies mean. Presented without comment:
Franco wrote:But a well-stocked collection of selfies seems to get attention. And attention seems to be the name of the game when it comes to social networking. In this age of too much information at a click of a button, the power to attract viewers amid the sea of things to read and watch is power indeed.
Franco wrote:Now, while the celebrity selfie is most powerful as a pseudo-personal moment, the noncelebrity selfie is a chance for subjects to glam it up, to show off a special side of themselves — dressing up for a special occasion, or not dressing, which is a kind of preening that says, “There is something important about me that clothes hide, and I don’t want to hide.”
Franco wrote:And, as our social lives become more electronic, we become more adept at interpreting social media. A texting conversation might fall short of communicating how you are feeling, but a selfie might make everything clear in an instant. Selfies are tools of communication more than marks of vanity (but yes, they can be a little vain).
Franco wrote:I am actually turned off when I look at an account and don’t see any selfies, because I want to know whom I’m dealing with. In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”
Anyway, where do you stand with the selfie? Any and all thoughts (or selfies) about selfies are welcome.