A picture is worth a thousand words: An old saying that many of us recognize. So I would love to know what our selfies say.
For most of us, selfies mean our best photos. And, most times, taking a great selfie is a full-on production. You have to find the right angle, the right lighting, and the right caption.
I have perfected my selfies over time. My best angle is a slight tilt, but not a full-on profile. I prefer natural lighting, but white lighting works as well. I go for a closed-mouth smile, with pursed lips adorned in typically pink or red lipsticks. It’s my own personal tried-and-true formula for my best and favorite selfies. When I don’t follow this model, I’m more than likely just gonna delete the photo and try again.
Why do I go through all of this work for a picture of myself? What’s wrong with posting a photo straight on in horrible lighting? Photos not using the formula that I created for myself are usually the most honest portrayals of what I look like. Why is that considered bad?
The number of selfies we take and delete because they don’t meet our standards is probably astronomical! Think of how many pictures you take before you post your selfie. And think of how many filters you toggle through before you finalize your selection.
Societal ideals of beauty infiltrate our lives constantly. We compare ourselves to a standard we’ve constantly been told is the best. When we aren’t meeting that standard, we think that something is wrong. But these photos aren’t bad. These photos are love notes declaring to the world that we deserve to be seen in all of our glory, even when it’s deemed not “our best.”
Here are three reasons why you should post your bad selfies:
1. Our “bad” selfies help us “exercise our radical self-love muscles by asking us to actively challenge the hyper image consciousness that forces us to believe we must be ‘perfect’ or ‘pretty’ to be valuable.” Society is constantly bombarding us with the message that who we are is wrong. When we post these photos, we are interrupting this narrative. And in doing so, we are empowering ourselves to know that we are beautiful, even when society wants us to think that we are not, and we are showing others that they are beautiful, too.
2. Our “bad” photos remind us that “photos that capture our moments of joy, laughter, and connection emanate our true nature of radical self-love, which means it is impossible for that image to be “bad.” The perfect selfie typically portrays a rehearsed version of ourselves. Whenever we show happiness and joy, no matter the intensity, we show our poised smiles. And our portrayals of sadness or anger are stoic stares into the camera. But what’s wrong with photos of us in the middle of a burst of laughter? Or photos of us crying or screaming? Nothing! Radical self-love is not only loving ourselves, but also honoring what we feel. And we should feel empowered to share those emotions with others. There is nothing bad about that at all.
3. Our ‘bad’ photos challenge “Body Terrorism by refusing the politics of invisibility.” Body terrorism works to invalidate our bodies, our emotions, and our lived experiences. It works to isolate us and, ultimately, erase us. We have to refuse to erase ourselves. Our joy, pain, laughter, silly faces, and anger all deserve to be visible. We deserve to be visible.
We encourage you to flex your radical self-love muscles and join us for “Bad” Picture Monday. You deserve to be visible and to take up space, so join the Unapologetic Posse and let the world see you!
[Headline image: The photograph shows a light-skinned person with dark, straight, shoulder-length hair looking pensively into a mirror.]