So the idea of a someone whose Instagram life makes her look like she spends 24/7 perfecting the perfect DGAF smirk is obviously as insufferable as Lena Dunham talking about her struggle. In the grand tradition of hate reading blogs, people will tell you that 99% of what bloggers say is useless, and that the internet’s most popular self-obsessed people can all go straight to hell.
But right now, we’re fighting for runways to show us people of color, people with disabilities and curvier women. And when it comes to this explosive little “diversity” trendlet, like me learning to tie my shoes correctly in my late ‘20s, it’s just not happening soon enough. And now that Instagram is extremely hospitable and profitable for women who indulge in a little vanity, people want to laugh witchy laughs at them and undo all of that narcissism. Those who criticize these so-called “human personal brands,” understandably have come to a place where they expect the things they post to be fake, and the people to have little to offer. But we need women to be vain, and we need them to take these pictures — all of them. Because when the professional photographers, advertising campaigns, fashion media are not taking pictures of them, selfies perform a vital role, even when they’re from the people who get free stuff.
I say this as a professionally nosy self-effacing person who tries to look beyond my navel, as someone who loathes the idea of posting a selfie. I couldn’t’ take a personal compliment gracefully if it came with a lifetime supply of cookie dough. But I now slurp up photos of inspirational photos curvy women a selfies before coffee, and I love it.
A supposedly blissed out picture of a woman in her bikini, has become a thing that people say is terrible, desperate, everything that’s wrong with the world. But it might be to everyone’s moderate surprise that she exists outside of this moment, of this picture. If not for totally selfish selfies, we wouldn’t see very much diversity on the popular platforms. Depending on whose looking, these selfies, even for someone who only takes pictures of beautiful places, do something. They influence the way you feel about your own self, and everyone can find someone to see themselves in.
It’s why these spaces that encourage you to be totally selfish are totally needed if we want to see trans folks who love their denim and women with deliciously soft stomach bursting out of a bandage swimsuit among the multitude of the kinds of people who conform to beauty ideals we’re told to buy into.
How else can a modest woman find someone who is style-obsessed and religious in her community focused on this stuff? The inclusive campaigns we do see are powerful, but they’re always pretty light on style, and they can’t include everyone. Instagram (when they’re clothed,) can. To see a woman every. single. day. living her life in her clothes and accessories on the go is the kind of lookbook – totally real or not — that we need.
We don’t need to hear about how It Works! body wraps made you lose a hundred pounds without diet and exercise though. We wish we could hit unsubscribe on that.