When I was in college, I took Sociology 101. While taking the class, we had to test ourselves with all sorts of social tests like riding the elevator backwards, eating a meal (usually eaten with utensils) hands-free, or standing in a place people usual walk. One of the tests was to stare at yourself in the mirror for five minutes.
The point of the test was to hear the negative thought process. In theory, we can’t go 5 minutes at looking at ourselves without starting to think negative things about our face. We look for those negative things.
Except that’s not how it worked on me. While everyone talked about pimples, eyebrows, crooked teeth, weird body parts, I kept silent. When I watched myself for five minutes, I was impressed by my eyes. Flecks of green, grey, and blue. A yellow circle. Just really pretty eyes. I never thought about anything wrong with my face.
Now take the selfie. My female students do them quite a bit. My male students do it every so often. At the end of the year, several of my female students wanted to take selfies with me.I hadn’t mugged for the camera in years, but for these girls, I wanted to model positive body image. So I was in several selfies.
I became curious. These girls loved getting their pictures taken.
Then when I saw a friend in California this summer, we did a selfie. She used a filter that made me go, wow, I need that. So I decided to try an experiment. Talk a selfie every day for a month.
At first, it was intimidating. It was stupid and childish. I only had fun trying different selfie apps. But god, what am I? Self absorbed?
But then I noticed a change. I liked how I looked. I liked my hair. I liked my eyes. I liked my smile. I thought I was cute. I thought I looked good.
Now I know the mirror image helps. We’re used to seeing ourselves in the mirror image, so when we see pictures of ourselves, we’re weirded out. We think we look wrong. But that’s only because we’re not use to seeing ourselves regular.
But I like this new confidence.
Basically, I approve of this selfie movement. If it gets kids to like how they look, give them a little more confidence to be who they are, that’s awesome. And as with EVERYTHING, everything in moderation.
So if you’re reading this, I recommend a month of selfies.