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Selfies: The Good, the bad and the body positive

Mona Lisa Smiley Face.

Mona Lisa Smiley Face.

 

We’re all familiar with the idea that selfies are symptomatic of a generation so absorbed in our own image, it’s a wonder we can tear ourselves away from the bathroom mirror long enough to eat and generally keep ourselves from starving to death, gawping at our reflection like a budgie. We’re all guilty of this to some degree, except me obviously, the girl with the blog and terribly important thoughts that everyone cares about but it’s a growing addiction amongst my 20something mates and below.

We construct our lives around these moments where we snap our selfies, post them and wait for the ensuing likes and comments. It’s almost like living vicariously through these photos and are we running the risk of losing the ability to actually enjoy the moment as we’re living it without thinking that other people NEED to know I’m having tea with my bestie? Make sure you’re actually having fun in the photo you’re taking and not just posing for a selfie moment! Remember the experience, it’ll make the photo more meaningful and you’ll have something to look back on rather than just another pretty posed face.

Touched up and re-tweaked, we post plenty of headshots, bathroom shots, group shots, meal shots and everything in between. Does this affect how we actually see ourselves in real life? Sometimes all this airbrushing can get to you, everyone has pores and inconvenient hair flicks, accept it and move on. Not everything needs to be documented, you can go to the gym without telling everyone and you can cook a meal without posting it on facey b. The main point of updating everyone about your life is so they can tell you how great it is, and when you start deriving a decent chunk of your self-esteem from random people online you stop looking for it from yourself. It can be a blessing and a curse; it can make you feel great seeing more ‘natural’ girls getting great responses, but you could be constructing a persona that’s impossible to live up to. It’s true that too much editing of yourself can be detrimental to your own image of yourself.

Well, everything in moderation. Trust me when I say, a digital detox every once in a while to get away from all this online noise is a very very good thing.

 

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However there’s another side to this selfie obsession, one that might be having a more positive impact on our self-esteem.

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The fetishization of food seems like a potentially dangerous route, but this new trend promotes a healthy lifestyle, positive self-image and the idea that strong is the new sexy and that health and happiness are the ultimate goals.

Maybe the key difference between these fitblr and fitspo posts is that they don’t get their kudos and status from comparing themselves to others, putting some groups of people down and exalting others. It’s about encouraging anyone on the path to a healthy future to acknowledge that setbacks happen, no one’s perfect, baby steps work and that whether you’re skinny or not you can be fit and healthy, no slagging off needed! Some people might look at the above picture, (the fit woman not the angry tortoise, although I do love him,) and say that it promotes skinny girls over everyone else, but the focus is on health and fitness, skinny is a happy by-product.The cult of celebrity means that it’s almost our natural state to constantly compare ourselves to others, pretty much all the time, sometimes it’s refreshing to have a normal, healthy person to compare yourself to! Ocassionally i’ll look at these images and think, that is literally impossible and I really shouldn’t bother trying, my bum will never do that perfect perky thing so pass the duvet and kettle crisps. It’s not a quick fix, I get that, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to be addicted to any of these kinds of images, the motivation needs to come from you and you alone. If you need an extra push, fine, but woman cannot live by rock hard ab pics alone.

Judge by your own standards. You know what’s normal for you, what makes you feel good, what you can do to change up your routine and feel a bit better about yourself. You don’t have to look like that to be healthy is the bottom line, healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. I’d count myself as pretty healthy and I certainly couldn’t post a picture of myself planking in a tank top eating a bowl of almonds without feeling like a bit of a tit. I don’t have abs, or massive muscles, but i’m healthy and that’s good enough for me.

Whether this is enough to counteract the darker side of selfie-dom remains to be seen. Ultimately, I think that living your life through someone’s instagram account is never going to be better than actual self-motivation and a sens of security in your own lifestyle..but maybe if it can poke me into eating a few more berries and sprouting things it’s not a total lost cause?

Georgie

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