[guest post by Dana]
Have you ever wondered if we can become any more of a narcissistic culture than we already are? Well, I’m here to sadly inform you, that yes, we can. Did you realize there is a feminist photo revolution going on? Yeah, neither did I. However, it seems it’s taking place right on Twitter and Tumblr and other social media. In pushing back against the typically well made-up, beautifully coiffed, airbrushed, size 0 model who makes females everywhere hate themselves and swear off carbs for 17 minutes, average Janes are now taking selfies, sans makeup, filters and even clothes just to proudly and powerfully remind themselves – and you – what “normal” looks like. (I’m guessing that the ability to serve champagne on a rotund tush doesn’t count…) Anyway, this “empowerment” is a way to “overturn sexist tropes through mass
“Selfies open up deep issues about who controls the image of women,” says Peggy Phelan, an art and English professor at Stanford University… “Selfies make possible a vast array of gazes that simply were not seen before.”
“We spend so much time trying to hide our flaws because the culture has set it up that you have to be ashamed if you’re not perfect,” Cynthia Wade, a filmmaker and creator of the short film Selfie told me recently, for an article about ugly selfies in the New York Times. “I think girls are tired of it.”
“Selfies are one way for a female to make space for herself in the world: to say ‘I’m here, this is what I actually look like, my story counts, too,’” says Pamela Grossman, the director of visual trends at Getty Images, “They allow girls to shine on their own terms.”
Unfortunately for her, Afifa, a 26-year-old Afghani woman who recently made it all the way to America from Afghanistan, wasn’t informed that all she and her fellow Aghani sisters needed to do to become empowered was to take a few selfies and post them online. What?! No #BitchesHaveMyBack for her!
In the male dominated country of her birth, Afifa discusses the reality of living with absolutely no fundamental rights for women. Instead, most women have no awareness of any other way to live. They cannot travel without a male escort and are viewed as chattel to sell, trade or abuse. Saying this phenomenon is not rare anymore, Afifa spoke of a 12-year-old girl who was married to a 65-year-old man as a normal arrangement in her country.
Women are jailed, abused and even killed by their own family if they bring shame on them by not abiding by strict Islamic rules. Afifa explains how “the honor of your family name is so important,” that honor killings, where a father, brother or uncle will kill their own female family member for marrying outside the faith or shaming the family, is a risk Afghani women take for granted.
Compared to the stark contrast with her culture, American women should appreciate their rights, she says. Speaking to American women, Afifa says, “You have great opportunities for yourself and your loved ones. You’re so lucky, so do as much as you can.”
Seriously, luck and opportunity? What a hater.
And speaking of social media and all that is OURSELVES – ALL DAY, ALL THE TIME!, there is a little site that asked the BIG question: What If Guys Acted Like Girls On Instagram?
(I need to offer a H/T, but can’t remember which site I linked from.)