Have you ever taken a "selfie"? We all get a good laugh these days about selfies - the candid taken with a celebrity or in a striked pose - but could taking selfies help students dive deeper into the complexity of their own and others' identities?
A few months ago I saw the short film, "Selfie" produced by Dove, and I still think about it. It examines the way taking and posting selfies on social media can change our definition of beauty and transform our sense of our own beauty. (Click here for an article on the film, or watch it below.)
I don't know about you, but when I was a teenager, the LAST thing I wanted was a picture of myself. I hated how I looked in pictures. My parents had a plethora of photos of the back of my head as a result of my quick reaction to a camera being raised around me.
So, "Selfie" got me questioning:
- How many times, if ever, did a young woman in one of my classes put "beautiful" on her identity chart? (It was rare if ever!)
- Does our self-identification as beautiful or not impact our sense of belonging?
- If others' description of us as beautiful contributes to being accepted, can redefining "beauty" also expand group acceptance?
- The quick blame for almost unattainable standards of beauty often goes to corporations (Barbie, cosmetics, clothing, plastic surgery), but to what extent do mothers pass it on to their daughters, sisters to sisters, peers to peers, and so forth?
- After so many generations of female beauty being defined by professional photographers. magazines, and cosmetic companies, is it truly possible that the democratic nature of social media and self-taken, impromptu photographs can redefine our standards of beauty? If so, "choosing to participate" could be as simple as... taking a selfie?