This afternoon my sister Laura challenged a handful of friends, me included, to post a makeup-free selfie on Facebook. I’ve taken selfies before, but I’ve only ever posted it on Instagram, and I only have a handful of followers there, so I don’t think that really counts. Going makeup free is not a super big deal to me – I don’t wear a lot of it anyways, but I would prefer to have makeup on when I am seen in public, especially when I am short on sleep, which is most of the time. What really interested me about all this was the process. I suddenly became very aware of my positioning, my hair, my expression, my filters… Look, I’ll show you.
This is the first one that I took and the the one that I posted. I figured it was as close to “raw” as I was going to get. Oh wait, I might have deleted the first one. Well, this is as close to raw as I was willing to have exist on my hard drive.
So I’ve been playing with my hair and experimenting with a less smile and more sultry. I look more tired too, and this is where I noticed that my face kind of veers off to the right. I am 34 years old and I never noticed that before. But does this matter? Why am I worrying about this? Hmmm…don’t think this one should go on Facebook, looks like I am trying too hard.
Profile shot? Too pretentious? Too self aware? Yes. Not posting this one.
This is a legit smile. That one might work.
Hmmm….fiddle with the contrast and brightness?
Too saucy? We are verging on duck-lips here… mmmmmm…no.
Maybe I should try it with my hair up? I spend a lot of time with my hair up…
And then I got curious, do I have a good side? The right one?
The left one?
At this point I was just getting sick of looking at myself and I thought that things were getting a little out of control, so I just posted the first one. Hopefully you’re sick of all this too, because really, should I be spending this much time on taking my photo? No.
There is a lot out there on selfies and whether they are empowering or whether they contribute to negative self images. I know that young girls in particular will spend a lot of time getting the “right” selfie to post online, and after this experience, I totally get why they do that. I hope the “no-makeup selfie” challenge helps people to be more accepting of who they are, but at the end of the day, we are still curating a version of ourselves, just with one less filter.