The other day, I was flipping through my September issue of Essence when an article titled Selfie Nation caught my eye. Though I've taken a selfie or two in my day, I'm not a huge fan of the practice. But, this article still managed to strike a nerve with me. Especially this quote by psychologist Dr. Karen Streeter,
Black women have suffered a lot of attacks on our self-esteem...when you experience that you can develop a need for positive reinforcement on a regular basis.Although I agree that this can be the case with some women, I truly dislike studies like this because they create blanket theories.
First, I understand Essence is a magazine for black women, but by singling out this group, the theory seems to say, if a black woman posts a selfie it's something deeply psychological that needs to be studied, while if a member of any other group posts a selfie, it's simply another way to document life.
Second, it overlooks the subgroups within the black woman category. There are those that take selfies because they're having fun, or they like the way they put their look together that day, or they may be, dare I say, a little stuck on themselves.
Lastly, it ignores the fact that though many black women are hard workers, by nature of our ethnicity AND gender, most of us have not been able to secure the same wages as peers of other groups who do the same work. This means, we're unable to lead lifestyles that the mainstream apparently regards as selfie-worthy. In taking photos of our lives, perhaps it should be considered more of a testament to what we've been blessed with than as some sort of cry for help.
By overlooking these, Dr. Streeter adds yet another innocuous item to the list of things it's socially unacceptable for black women to do.
So, although it's annoying to see the same faces streaming across my timeline day-after-day, ladies, if you're doing it for the right reasons, keep those selfies coming. Because I do agree with Alisha Tillery, the author of Selfie Nation when she says,
Selfies provide an opportunity to exhibit self-love and create our own communities in which our standards of beauty can live and be accepted.~ With ♥ from Halima
What do you all think of Selfie Nation? When you see selfies in your newsfeed do you think there's an underlying message the poster is sending or do you think it's another way for them to stay connected?