We all know that selfies have been a staple in our media for a few years now. The term selfie was defined on UrbanDictotionary.com in 2005. According to Mediabistro, millions of selfies are shared each and every day across all the major social media platforms. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people ages 18-24, with Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat bearing the brunt of that load.
Some consider those who take selfies as self-absorbed individuals and others think selfies are a way that individuals express who they are -- their identities.
Why do you take and share a selfie? Is it for attention? To build confidence? To build a brand or to entertain? To express? Or to simply and authentically keep your friends, family, and fans up to date on what's going on in your life?
I surveyed hundreds of women, and some say that the motivation behind their selfie is to motivate and inspire others by showing how great their life is and to show that you too can do and have anything you want. I understand and support that belief, but are some of these selfie actions a little vain as well -- maybe unconsciously? Why can't we show and express our vulnerable times as well? Wouldn't that resonate just as much with others because we wouldn't feel so alone when we have challenging times?
To be frank, I have unfollowed some friends and business colleagues after months of hearing only the good in their life and business and never hearing about their challenges. Maybe you're thinking, "somebody is jealous." I'm not jealous; I just prefer to stay connected with those who share the good and the bad. I'm not saying you should air dirty laundry on social media--there are boundaries. Nobody goes through life without challenges -- and that's a fact. Our challenges and obstacles may never be the same, but we each experience them and we can each learn and support one another.
My question is, why do we limit our self-expressions to a physical selfie when we are blessed human beings with layers upon layers of character and personality that create our identities? I know it's an easier sell, an easier connection, and easier marketing tactic, but can we work on taking the selfie to a deeper level? Can we reveal what lies beneath the physical selfie?
According to an article in Time, Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, believes that parents and experts are over-analyzing the selfie. I'm not trying to over-analyze the selfie, but I believe the media and many bloggers/writers are still focusing and promoting too much on physical appearance and body image.
I'm sick and tired of reading and seeing all the physical images of our identities. Much of the media out there is still focusing on our outer beauty, as if our surface still defines our identity. How many times can we share images of a variety of women who come in all sizes when it's NOT about our physical appearance? How do we dig deeper?
Why do we have to use the term "plus-size model?" Get rid of this ridiculous label altogether. Why are we still writing articles about women who have achieved wearing a bikini for the first time? It's not that I don't support their achievement and success on building confidence, but again, we are still focusing on the physical body image. When can we stop these conversations because they no longer need to be a conversation? She's a model, not a "plus- size model." Or she's a model for Express and she's a model for Lane Bryant, etc. She's a model, plain and simple.
We are more than our physical appearance. We have numerous layers to our identities, but yet we don't express them, especially the layers of our vulnerabilities.
That's why I created Identity. Identity is about expressing your entire identity -- inside and out. Our identities are created by building up layer after layer after layer. We are complex individuals just like a butterfly. Like our own identities, a butterfly morphs through many stages and layers during its lifetime.
The changes we face day in and day out help shape our identities into the multiple layers that make us who we are. Our identities are made up of our physical, mental, and spiritual selves, as well as our hobbies, religious beliefs, education, intelligence, and unique viewpoints.
Embrace the belief that our identities run far deeper than what can be seen on the surface. Some identities are more spiritual, more religious, fit, intelligent, curious, shy, outgoing or ambitious.
The Identity Movement - #LoveMyLayers
For seven years, Identity has been a leader in the online world for teaching and showing women how to shift their thinking from thoughts of criticizing their minds and bodies, to learning about what true self-love and acceptance really means. To date, we have touched 800,000 women and with your help -- together we can reach 1 Million!
The layers that define us are many and varied. Join the #LoveMyLayers movement which illustrates our numerous layers, found well-beyond what others see on the surface. Share your layers in selfies with a purpose. Post a picture of yourself and share something unique about what makes you, you, and help inspire women to love all the beautiful layers that make up their identities! Reality is, selfies are here to stay, so let's take the selfie to the next level.
This article was originally published on IdentityMagazine.net