“Feeling myself today. Can I live?!” An all too familiar caption used by stereotypical, selfie-takers to accompany their self-portrait of the day. Personally, I love when women (or men!) embrace this type of attitude. Do you. Slay mama. Recently at a show I observed a teenage girl in the crowd unashamedly shoot a selfie of herself when I was strangely reminded of good old Descartes and thought to myself, “I selfie, therefore I am”. Selfies, at least in this consumer-driven society, has embedded itself into our daily lives and confirms our place at the “centre of our own world” (17), to each his own. Partaking in this form of self-representation however, as Rettberg argues, has succumbed to an onset of derogatory implications.
Rettberg touches on the misogynistic perspective of the selfie where she tries to argue that young women are especially targeted and “disciplined” for their narcissistic tendencies when it comes to blogging or selfies. “Women have been conditioned not to expose themselves,” Rettberg argues, and criticizes “society’s knee-jerk reaction to mock them.” (18) She brings up an empowering, feminist notion to the table that I sincerely appreciate. To a huge extent I believe women and men still struggle against society’s tendencies to condition us with gender-specific roles. Men are taught not to feel and women are taught not to expose and when we decide to crossover idealized roles, sometimes all hell breaks loose on the Internet. #kimkardashian #breaktheinternet
Of course I advocate the right for our women to express themselves freely and loudly as we please. However, I also think that if “young women in their teens and early twenties for the first time have found platforms that allow them to speak without censorship to large public audiences (18) then we should utilize this force to go beyond topics of fashion, make-up, and OOTDs. I came across an article about a Norwegian reality show sending successful, leading fashion bloggers to experience for a month, a glance into the life of a Cambodian textile worker. The mere concept of the show strikes a pause in our own busy worlds of consumption where fashion bloggers are typing away faster than these poverty-stricken, Cambodian textile workers can manage to sew. With the incredible quantitative following these bloggers attract, I almost feel that it is a responsibility to acknowledge where our material things are coming from. We tend to commend ourselves for speaking freely and quickly through social media amongst a global network, but I think we should ponder our thoughts just a little longer before hitting ‘publish’.