As I went through high school, I experienced many issues with self-esteem. I stopped liking how I looked in pictures, and I refused to leave the house without makeup on, even if it was just for a quick trip to the grocery store with my mom. I even developed an eating disorder, which further developed my self-image. And then, selfie culture began. People all around me were posting pictures of themselves on social media. They looked so happy, and so, I decided to try it too.
I sent a couple photos on their way to the public eye, and crossed my fingers that everyone else wouldn’t see me the way I currently saw myself. I had no reason to worry though; within just a few hours, the comments of my post were overflowing with support and compliments from friends and family. I actually felt good about myself that day, and that was the first step to rebuilding my confidence.
Over the next few years, my social media, especially my Instagram, would be filled with all kinds of selfies documenting my journey to a positive self image. Did I go to a party? Selfie of my makeup. Have a job interview? Selfie of my professional outfit. Some days were worse than others, but selfie culture helped me drown the negative voices in the back of my mind that were determined to keep my confidence levels down. Instead, they slowly but surely rose.
Selfie culture taught me not only to be confident in myself, but to be proud about myself and my accomplishments. It taught me that being excited for myself about something was not synonymous with bragging, though I had been socialized as a female to think it was.
I spoke to a few others about what selfie culture has done for them, and here were the responses I got:
“I’d say, ultimately, it helps my self-esteem. Of course I have those bad days, but I don’t necessarily save those images of myself. I save the good ones and they’re a reminder that I should feel good about how I look.”
“I think selfies have definitely helped me develop my sense of self. Sometimes, on days where I don’t feel so good about myself, I can see the times that I did and it reminds me that nothing has changed. I’m still that person, and I’m still beautiful.”
“It makes me feel more confident as a person – asking people to take picture of you is embarrassing, so being able to take them yourself and it being socially acceptable is awesome.”
These are just a few outtakes from the conversations I had, and of course responses varied, as everyone has their own experiences. However, the overwhelming majority of answers I received were positive; most people I spoke to claimed that selfie culture had helped their confidence as well.
Selfie culture is a culture that promotes confidence and self love. For someone who had struggled with confidence issues for years, that a saving grace. My recovery would not have flourished the way it did under selfie culture, and it helps me to love myself more everyday.
Photo credit: Header