An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies

Dear Friends Who Take Selfies,

I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re great. I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself.

They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of one little photo.

I love your selfies because I love seeing you feel good about yourself.

I love your pictures because I love seeing what you’re wearing — the outfits you build give me ideas about how to mix it up with my own wardrobe, and seeing you work your shit gives me courage to try clothing that I otherwise might have thought was too outlandish or revealing.

I love seeing how you do your hair and makeup.

I want you to post pictures every time you change your hair, because seeing you cycle through all those neon colors gives me great ideas about what to do next with my own hair.

I love when you take selfies in your house — it’s neat to see where you live.

When your place is cluttered, it makes me feel better about my own messy apartment. When your house is neat, it encourages me to get my shit together and do the damn dishes already. I like seeing the things you own and the art you put on your walls, because those things tells me so much about who you are and what you care about.

I love when you take selfies while on vacation.

I don’t get to travel often, so your pictures allow me to live vicariously through you. The excitement on your face when you're at the Trevi Fountain or by the Arc de Triomphe is perfect and beautiful. I’ve seen a thousand pictures of the Louvre Pyramid, but the most interesting ones are the ones with you in it. You’re what makes those pictures special.

But mostly, I love your selfies because I love seeing you feel good about yourself.

I love how your face glows when you look like a million bucks and you know it. I love when you celebrate yourself. You deserve to be celebrated.

Your selfies are inspirational. That might sound corny, but it’s true. When I see you love yourself, it helps me love myself.

It’s easy for people to roll their eyes at selfies and make jokes about girls who just want attention, but the truth is that for lots of women — especially women of colour, trans women, disabled women and all the other women who see their existences erased in mainstream media — posting pictures of themselves is a way of challenging our culture’s narrow beauty standards. Representation matters, and when that representation doesn't exist in magazines or television shows or movies, it can be incredibly powerful to create it yourself.

Sonia Manzano, the woman who played Maria on Sesame Street for 44 years, once told an interviewer, "If you're not reflected in society, you're invisible," then said that you can't contribute to a society that doesn't see you. Selfies are a way for people who feel invisible to be seen.

Selfies are not a question. They’re not asking, “do you think I’m pretty?”

Selfies are a statement. They say, “I am here.”

I see you.

I love you.

You matter.

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