As I grew up, my dad often chided me for looking too much into the mirror. My mom followed suit and ingrained it in our DNAs that watching yourself too much is never a good habit. And so I learned to never watch myself too much, let alone be consumed by own gaze.
As a mindful article on Elle puts it up, “Anything having to do with women casting themselves in the starring role of their lives, it is considered distasteful”.
I am sure it was not just my family who did this with a specific mindset. We have been conditioned as such that women and her light can be gazed at and appreciated, but them seeking pleasure in them own luminescence? Nah, far too much! Too much for a woman. How can she know what and who she is? How could she look deeply within her own character and take away the right to be scrutinized and judged by the on-lookers?
Because once she sees her own reflection, know of her own scars and radiance – how could you make her sit back and tell her what to believe and what not to?
In the last year or so, I have been watching myself a lot more in the mirror. Like every millennial, I have been clicking a lot more selfies. I know my best angle, my left-front-right profiles. I know I look the best with that flattering filmy smile but also know how not to overdo it because then it shows my gum and that kind of makes me look little dorky. I have tried the duck-face and have come to realize how I could never master it but oh yes a kiss-me-there one, I think that gives me an illusion of high cheekbones.
Let’s admit, there’s far more confidence and comfort in clicking a selfie than asking someone else to do the job. You don’t have to ask for hesitant re-takes, you can make candid faces and you can definitely experiment A LOT. Basically, you are holding the controls – which is unlike the previous times when it was never our forte.
So far, my Snapchat has recorded and frozen my myriad shades of mood: that face when I am annoyed by an unexpected pimple, that face when I am so full I can’t even breathe, along with that face I make when I am surreptitiously taking a selfie in office.
Exactly. We feel awkward when we catch our own pretty glimpse in the reflection or embarrassed when someone catches us freezing that moment where we find ourselves looking pretty. It’s like people can tell us we are pretty, but to acknowledge it ourselves? No.
Hands down, as they say, indeed Selfies are the greatest feminist acts since 70’s bra burning movement in France. Watching, acknowledging, accepting your face to be as beautiful as the brushed and air brushed actress posting her picture for the world to see on the same feed is indeed a movement.
I refuse to see it as narcissism. I see it as self-exploration as I record the evidence of my everyday mood, face and background.
Some days there will be mountains, some days there will be beaches. Some days there will be my best friend while it would be the love of my life on others. Some days my beautiful parents smiling on my graduation day while it will be my lonely bedroom wall with a lamp shade and boring curtains on others. And yet the same face of mine will be changing colors in all these pictures. I want to freeze these “everydays” as I go on to explore the makeup which suits me, the earrings which flatter me and whether I look better hair down or up.
These will be my growing everydays.
I personally think selfies have indeed been a revolutionary movement in giving me a sense of who I am. I might not have believed it until I sat down to write this article. And so, they might scrunch their noses when you put out your camera to freeze your moment and your smile, but they wouldn’t ever know that this can never be narcissism when you have just begun to fall in love with yourself.
“Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”
-Mirror, Sylvia Path