Checking in with the #365FeministSelfie Project
When Oxford Dictionary named “selfie” the word of the year, Jezebel magazine turned around and called seflies self-indulgent. Veronica I. Arreola, the voice behind Viva la Feminista, where she writes from the intersection of motherhood and feminism, lit a fire under the situation and created the #365feministselfie social-media movement.
She called on women to get in front of the camera to document their everyday, real selves, share their photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and tag them with #365feministselfie. This was right after the new year, and women—and a few men—joined in droves, tentatively at first and wholeheartedly once they realized that wanting to be seen is golden.
I joined the movement a week or so in, and when I committed to it, I found something noteworthy in the everydayness of the project. Instead of turning away from the camera, sure that I would hate what I'd find if I faced it, I looked at myself with new eyes.
Here's the caption I wrote for the #365feministselfie above, taken just a few weeks into the project: Just got back from book club discussing Divergent! Tired, happy. Not as hard on myself looking at this pic today as I would have been pre-selfie project. We're onto something here, ladies. #365feministselfie
I'm not alone in what I'm finding through this project. Those softer eyes, the desire to be seen, the treating of our reflections with the same kindness that we treat others with, and the focus on the moment rather than how we look in it are all universal side effects of the project. Arreola explains, “I am seeing a growing community. Again, most of the participants I see are women-identified. They are sharing personal struggles with body image, motherhood, careers—life in general. Their stories are then met with supportive comments, others chiming in to say ‘me too!' and [give] solutions to the struggle. It's pretty amazing.”
Five #365feministselfie participants share how this photo-a-day project is going for them.
Abby Rose Dalto is a freelance writer, editor, consultant, sex-positive feminist, and single mom.
About how the #365feministselfie project is going for her, Dalto said, “The #365feministselfie project is about self-acceptance. It's the challenge of putting yourself out there—flaws and all—and saying, ‘This is me. Take it or leave it.'
“Selfies have been criticized as self-indulgent or attention-seeking, but the pictures I've seen aren't about narcissism or validation. Photos tagged #nomakeup #nofilter … that aren't necessarily flattering but show what women really look like … feeling sad, angry, tired, sick … has been a way of documenting the full life experience, good and bad.
“The selfie has become a symbol of self-love and celebrating who you are, finding the beauty in your imperfections. I can't think [of] anything more empowering or more feminist than that.”
Shoshana Kohn is a Jewish magazine editor, freelance radio interviewer, music journalist, and over-sharing zaftig mama.
About how the #365feministselfie project is going for her, Kohn said, “Last year, I laughed when women started sharing an article about the evil of the selfie, and then the same women jumped on the #365feminist selfie bandwagon. However, and there is always a however, I started following the #365feministselfie hashtag on Instagram. I was compelled by these women's photos. It felt like I was getting to see through a small window into their lives.
“And just like the blogging community and the ‘Listen To Your Mother' community, I was suddenly reaching out and talking to women I had never met before. What seemed at first like something I didn't want to take seriously was really another outlet to connect to like-minded, creative, and thoughtful women. I learned there was something fearless about throwing yourself out there for the world to see, especially when, sometimes, the world laughs with uncertainty.”
Brook Easton (aka Redhead Reverie) is a spunky faux redhead who shares her life journey as a working mom, writer, and triathlete. You can find her hiding in the bathroom eating cookies and working on her blog.
About how the #365feministselfie project is going for her, Easton said, “I decided to participate in the #365feministselfie project because I was tired of being the invisible mom. In the pre-selfie years, according to iPhoto and the pictures that hung on my walls, I didn't exist.
“I was there, but behind the lens instead of in front of it.
“From the moment my kids were born, I would lug my big camera to the playground, farmers' market, and Kindermusik class and snap photos of them—their little smiles lighting up my heart and my camera lens.
“I wanted to be in those photos with them, not because I'm a narcissist, but because I wanted to capture our joy together.
“As it turns out, I wasn't absent in just photos of me with my children; it was all photos. At what point do we as moms think we don't deserve some camera time? The lens is used to capture beauty, laughter, and joy.
“We all have that, so why not show it.
“You are a mom, show it.
“You are a triathlete, show it.
“You wore something other than sweatpants, show it.
“You are beautiful, SHOW it.
“It's time to be seen, so snap that selfie and stop being invisible.”
Jayme Weiden blogs at The Random Blogette about how moms are the new hotness (or is it hot mess …?), showcasing the struggles and joys of parenting while trying to not have a nervous breakdown.
About how the #365feministselfie project is going for her, Weiden said, “I love the concept of #365feministselfie. It celebrates the beauty of women near and far. We are perfectly imperfect, and we should be allowed to show the world what we look like on our good days and even our bad ones, too. There is nothing narcissistic about it, as some would lead you to believe. I want my daughter to know that it is OK to be proud of yourself and to show the world who you really are, no matter what. She has even started taking her own selfies.”
Lisa Corriveau is a mama of two, blogger, cyclist, stilt performer, and PR practitioner who thinks globally, acts locally, and works toward a more sustainable and child-friendly world.
About how the #365feministselfie project is going for her, Corriveau said, “I joined #365FeministSelfie project because I was disappearing from the visual record of our family. I take thousands of photos of my children, but I'm not in that many of them, even though I'm with them full time. I'm also struggling with the new, different postpartum me. The #365FeministSelfie project has been a way to get back in the picture and reclaim some space online. I'm enjoying the challenge of creating daily images and trying to make each of them unique. I've also met new ‘friends' via Instagram, and I have a sense of solidarity with the many other of the imperfect, aging, unedited women like me who are reclaiming some visual space online.”
Will you be joining the #365feministselfie project? Why or why not?Read More