There is a lot of controversy around the recent abundance of no-make-up selfies posted on the web in aid of cancer awareness.
Some people, who actually have, or have had, cancer, have conveyed anger at the act of healthy people simply swiping of the slap, taking a picture, and putting it 'out there' for this cause. There are some that are enraged that these pictures are somehow trying to draw a comparison between the 'physical expression' content of the photos and the physical suffering, and inevitable body changes, endured by those with the deadly disease.
Perhaps naively, I was pretty shocked when I came across this viewpoint. Truly, it had not occurred to me that the bare-faced selfies were in any way attempting to compare 'a face with no makeup' to the savage physicality of cancer. The two are clearly on different continents. Cancer is a bit of a spectre in my family. I do not put forward my point of view lightly.
If I had felt that my own selfie was in any way belittling the plight of a person with cancer, there is NO WAY in hell I would have done it.
Perhaps the 'mistake' has been made as the selfies do, in an honest way, expose a real discomfort women feel in exposing themselves to public scrutiny, in a manner they would not normally choose. This uneasiness is, however, an entirely separate issue to cancer and the mission of the selfies (which are raising the most magnificent funds for cancer). It is this secondary issue of womanly shame that I want to highlight as an issue today.
The woeful truth is that women today are made vulnerable to public judgement in the most extreme fashion.
There is pretty much no part of 'out there' that does not feed women's insecurities on a daily level. It is unavoidable. Sadly, most of us, without consciously choosing to, absorb these negative opinions and suggestions... and after a certain point, start to wear them as our own. Worse than that, so many of us start putting them out there ourselves....
Interacting with women involved in this selfie-stream, I stumbled across the troublesome but common attitude of SELF-LOATHING that women have: Self-loathing laced with no self confidence and a large dollop of personal anxiety. Far from it being the idea of 'posting a picture of themselves without make up' being the main problem, but more the idea that they have to post a picture of themselves AT ALL. The revulsion and unease that so many women feel about their own faces, bodies and their whole persona is a truth that is horrible but real.
The lack of self-love women feel these days is a plague brought down on them by society.
In all honesty though, I didn't judge. I UNDERSTOOD. I felt it too. I am usually the one (hiding) behind my camera, not the subject exposed in front of it. I felt a vulnerability that everyone OUT THERE would see my photo and somehow find me lacking. If it had not been for such an awesome cause, that photo would not have happened for all the tea in China.
So, I thought about that, and decided to turn it around.
All negative thoughts can be turned ON THEIR HEAD with a little effort. YES, society would have women downtrodden and scratching around for their self-esteem, but with a bit of positive and creative thinking what can emerge is a 'FUCK THAT' attitude that leads to a healthier view of who we really are.
Who we really are is the most breathtaking collection of personal ingredients, making us ALL unique and incredible. The modern world makes it increasingly difficult for us to see the BEAUTY in the INDIVIDUAL... but if we could upload a daily dose of what WE ARE rather that what we are not... WOW, what a difference that would make.
All my life I have been way too over self-conscious, with nervous energy dripping off me - always struggling to fit in to 'normal' and scared of the world not seeing me at my best. Well, I decided not so long ago to BITE BACK and chew a chunk out of that crap.
Learning to see that we are ALL amazing just as we are without having to be 'perfect' may not be what we are being programmed with externally... but change has to start somewhere. Stopping negative self-judgement is the first step in changing the WHOLE of society. The second step is to stop judging others - for anything.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, is to be so true to yourself that you don't give a damn what anyone else thinks. Ever. That would stop the rot as sure as weedkiller kills, well, everything.
In order to prove to myself that I am embracing this new attitude, and that you should too, I decided to do a new 'FUCK IT' totally naked selfie. I have NEVER done a single selfie before this week and although I have 95,000 family photos on my computer, probably less than 100 of them are of me. I am SO not a 'self-in-photos' person.
So, here is my FUCK IT Naked Selfie. If this makes me weird, then I will happily wave the freak flag.