‘The majority of us are adults here creating on this website and the majority of our viewers are teenagers and young people and I think that we have a responsibility to spread messages of how important consent is and how important being a decent human being who doesn’t harass people on the street is.’ [x]
If you’re not clued up on the Sam Pepper story it’s important that you make yourself aware and this video is a good start.
Links for help, if you’ve been affected by the Sam Pepper story or have been sexually harassed/assaulted in anyway, from the videos description:
If you haven’t seen my friend evanedinger’s wonderful My Sexuality video, please give it a watch. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a couple of days after watching it, and though Evan says everything I want to say much better than I can, I figured having a little ramble here couldn’t hurt.
A few years ago I became aware of asexuality. I kind of skimmed over it, mentally noted what it was but refused to research into it too much because I knew I’d find myself. And I didn’t want (and still don’t want) a label. I know that lots of people take great comfort in defining themselves, and I suppose it’s for that reason I’m sharing this. ALSO this is kind of weird because I have to use the phrase ‘sexual attraction’ a lot and that makes me blush.
As a pre-teen, I didn’t enjoy when conversations delved into 'crushes’ and boy stuff. All I cared about was horses and books and books about horses. It’s really easy to avoid talking about boys when you’re at primary school. Cross the teenage bridge into high school, and it’s a whole other story.
I’m reminded that I fell in love with your words. I gathered them slowly, and carried them always. I sewed them and I wore them but as vests and socks so nobody could see them but I could feel them when I moved. I forced them together and I made a boat then suddenly I could escape if the wind just changed. I laid them on my pillow and inhaled them when I slept, so your words became my dreams. I placed them on plates and I ate them, greedily, as someone quite poor who doesn’t know when their next meal will come. Your words filled me. I squeezed them on a palette and I drew with their colours, canvasses of the world as I saw it then, the world made of your words. I held them in my hands until the warmth from each one crept into my bones and let me face another day. I hummed them in a melody and played that song to drown out most everyone else. Perhaps that wasn’t fair, but your words etched a red ‘X’ on each day of my calendar and each hour of my clock. Sometimes I would scatter them, in places so quiet and places so beautiful that they deserved nothing but your words. And so I left them there, safe and quiet and beautiful.
Recently, my friend Lucy wrote a blog post entitled I Don’t Like Selfies, in which she shared some of her self-taken photos of the past and discussed getting ‘defensive and strange’ about the common justification of selfie posting as body confidence boosting and great.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about since, because I share in Lucy’s conflicted opinions.
This is what I look like right this second:
And this is what I look like at an angle that no one has ever or will ever see my face from, with the addition of a filter, some 'auto enhancing’ and a bit of cropping. OH and a smile because I always smile when I’m perusing the internet alone.
The second photo is a 'nicer’ photo. But the thought of sharing a photo like this with the world, and even looking at it myself right now, makes me REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE. 'Cause even though that’s my face and it’s really not that altered, to me it’s fake. That’s really not how I look and sharing that with anyone would not give me any sort of confidence boost. I much prefer the first photo because there is a greater element of self to that particular selfie.
I am old enough to remember the days before digital cameras, before reviewing and deleting was commonplace after taking a photo. You had to wait weeks for photos to be developed, and if you found a NICE photo of yourself after doing so, woaaah it was so spontaneous and uplifting, even among all the awful ones where you’re covered in yoghurt (I had a weird childhood).
And then I grew up through webcams and fliphones and Bebo and Dailybooth and I witnessed a lot of selfies. I’ve taken my fair few. They did not manage to quell the years of body hating insecurity that comes with adolescence. Even with Youtube, I used to get freaked out meeting people in person who’d only ever seen me in video form because even video making is a pretty false representation with lighting and make up and colour-correction and no side profiles. Never side profile, please.
My recent internet selfie game is home to double chins and cross eyes and I don’t even know. I actually find the 'Ugly Selfie’ phenomenon a lot more reassuring, because it reminds me that we’re humans and we can look really silly and our features are just as ridiculous as every other animal’s.
I am more confident than I used to be in my early teenage years, but I do not owe an ounce of this confidence to selfies. But most mornings, I like to stand in front of my bathroom mirror, pull a few stupid faces and then smile at myself. Massive, cheesy grin. And I like to mentally tell myself 'HEY you look OKAY and you’re a good person go KICK THE WORLD’S ASS.’ I don’t share these moments with anyone, least of all strangers on the internet, but they are the moments in which I feel best about myself. And that in itself is more than enough, and I prefer to keep that feeling as a private thing.
I hope this goes someway in explaining why my Twitter profile picture is a 6 month old headshot taken by a friend, and why my Tumblr picture is a FOUR YEAR old photo in which you can’t even see my face. Selfies don’t make me feel good about myself, they make me feel weird and dishonest and like I’m forcing my face upon people who have much better things to be doing with their time. That’s not to say I judge anyone who does get a happy buzz out of uploading selfies, or that I don’t believe them when they say it’s self-esteem boosting and fun. I believe you, but I shan’t be joining you just yet.
Yours, self confident but not selfieing. (Selfieing??)