Are Selfies Bad And Other Questions You Now Have Permission To Stop Asking

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The selfie definition hasn't changed much, but perceptions of selfie culture has and the question are selfies bad is now asked regularly.

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A Feminist View Of Selfie Culture

Most of us would agree that selfies are wildly popular and that selfie culture is here to stay. This has led many feminists to ask the question are selfies bad and are selfies symbolic of a narcissism that is often equated with right now. But not all feminists feel this way. On VProud there's a fascinating video and conversation analyzing selfie culture and the quick rise of selfie popularity. Writer, mother, and professional feminist and founder of the #365feministselfie movement Veronica I. Arreola reflects on the video and selfie culture with a critical feminist eye. Take a look at what Veronica has to say about the question are selfies bad and see if your views align with hers, or, perhaps, if her lens shifts yours.

—The VProud Team

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Selfies As Self Expression

By Veronica I. Arreola For VProud

“A selfie is capturing something that they can show to the world that represents themselves.” Dr. Nathaniel Herr sums up selfies in the best way I have ever read or heard.

In one sense selfies are simple. Someone takes a picture of themselves doing something. On the other, selfies are complex because the photograph is a representation of who that person thinks they are and often is sharing that photo via social media.

I find it funny that the act of creating selfies is about self-expression and defining one’s self, but the media continues to want to define those who take selfies as narcissistic or vain. Even more so, selfies continue to be defined by generation.

Perhaps the head scratching around selfies is that as humans we like to put things in boxes. The media especially likes to categorize things, even name trends. In many ways selfies defy labels.

I know this because for the past 21 months I have been lead instigator of #365FeministSelfie. 

It was a simple challenge to those who identify as feminist to take a selfie a day. Participates have discussed learning to love their Greek nose, making peace with their stretch marks, playing with make-up, documenting their skin cancer treatments, and growing pregnant bellies. Women of color and transgender persons have flocked to the hashtag to create media that represents their communities–ones we do not see enough positive images of in mainstream media.

Perhaps the selfie community does skew young, because in our culture, youth is beauty. That is why I often feel the most radical selfist is that of the older woman. She is not 40, 50 or even 60. But she smiles at the camera after her daily run. She even eggs on the youngsters after they post their hungover selfies. They get grandmotherly advice to make sure to drink more water to lessen the effects next time, not slut-shamed for wearing an adorable short skirt.

Self-portraits have been a part of human culture since we could see ourselves. The advent of digital photography with ease of sharing will ensure that selfies will always be with us. Not all selfies are deep with meaning, but before you write them off as superficial, ask yourself, “What does this photo really tell me?”

veronica arreola vproud
Veronica I. Arreola is a professional feminist, writer, and mom. She lives in Chicago with her family and their rescue dogs. She can be found at and on Twitter and Instragram talking selfies. Join Veronica's honest conversations on VProud.

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Understanding selfie culture: Do young people take selfies simply to communicate or is there more to it?

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