Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
You can also find Monica's writing here:
Search The Girl Who
« A Strange Preponderance of Nudity | Main | Bucket Head »
Thursday
Apr252013

Old-Fashioned Selfies and Selfie Sexism

After writing this post wherein I declared I'd like to attempt to make it to death without injecting shit into my face women, including many of y'all, began crawling out of my monitor to tell me they love the Botox. Like, people I know really well. Women I socialize with, girls from my past, everyone!

EVERYONE IS ON THE BOTOX and old garden furrow fivehead here had no clue. I mean, seriously. Is everyone on the Botox?

It makes me feel like maybe I've been living in the backwoods gettin' my Oil of Olay on while everyone else is scheduling a needle sesh with Doc Botox. This is the perception I'm getting. So are my quaint declarations of growing old "gracefully" akin to your granny's refusal to text? C'mon, Grandma! Get with the fucking program. Nobody wants to listen to your three hour voicemail.

I dunno. I do know that in this day and age, after seeing so many carefully edited "selfies" of my mug I start to convince myself that I can totally grow old gracefully, that I look great for 36... And then I see a photo of me someone else took when I didn't know it and I'm all DAAAYUUUMN. How come nobody told me I'm looking like that?

Sheeyit. After getting on the Instagram (I caved. What? Like you thought I wouldn't?) and seeing the selfies a lot of people are posting there and on Facebook I'm thinking a lot of us are living off the image of ourself our carefully crafted selfies create in our head. You get used to looking at that super hot, super edited profile pic of your fine lookin' self every day all day and then BAM. There's that shot of you on the office bulletin board housing potato salad at your work barbeque and here you were looking at it for ten minutes wondering who the new fat chick is until you realized the new fat chick is old you.

All this photoshop, social media madness can play tricks, is all I'm saying. Take twenty photos of yourself, pick the most flattering one and pretty soon you think that's what you look like and then you brave a gander at your naked ass after getting out of the shower one fine morning and you nearly upchuck your coffee as you behold the carnage.

Speaking of selfies, Serge and I had a weird conversation the other day. Weird conversations are not unique around these parts but this time I figured I'd see if you wanna join in.

Monica: I'm kind of glad you don't take a bunch of selfies and put them online. I think that would bother me. But then it bothers me that it would bother me because I take selfies sometimes.

Serge: So you're a selfie sexist, is that what you're saying?

Monica: No. But, I'm just glad you don't do that.

Serge: I don't even own a phone. Didn't even know what a "selfie" was until you just said so.

Monica: It bothers me when girls take a shit-ton of selfies too. So I'm not a selfie sexist. I don't mind the occasional shot but I also hate when people try to pretend like they didn't take the photo, you know. Or when they get all pensive and distant-eyed even though WE KNOW YOU'RE HOLDING THE CAMERA RIGHT THERE... Except I think I've done that. Yeah, I've done that.

Serge: Uh-huh.

Monica: But I prefer an old-fashioned selfie. Where you just point your phone into the mirror, or hold your arm out and you're like, here I am taking my photo. All the Blue Steel, pursed lips, up close shots make me feel weird. Except I think I've done that too. Yeah, I've done that too. But more in my twenties. Which I think is why dude selfies bug me. Because selfies seem like a thing for young girls.

Serge: An old-fashioned selfie?

Monica: But yeah. Maybe that's why it seems worse when dudes take selfies. But that's not fair. They want to feel pretty too. Maybe I am a selfie sexist. But I also like looking at selfies sometimes. But then, when someone is really getting into their selfie, I start to wonder about the mechanics behind the selfie. How long did they stand there posing? How many shots did they take? And then I feel awkward. For me and them.

Serge: (Stopped listening ten minutes ago, fiddling with radio.)

Monica: Some people post a ton of selfies and they look good and then I'm like; I should take more pictures of myself. So I do and then I stand there posing, taking an assload of photos and then I feel awkward for me again.

Serge: (Air-guitar-ing to radio)

Monica: It's all so confusing. I mean, you have to have profile pics and stuff so selfies make sense but it's out of control. Social media and blogs are weird, man. Just when I think I have a handle on the whole thing some new, weird shit comes along. Do you know what a Vine is?

Serge: Like, leaves?

Monica: Nevermind.

Reader Comments (8)

At least you are not online dating. Getting a good photo of yourself for those profiles is a nightmare. And embarrassing to ask your friends to take, so selfies are common. I actually have a strategy - I put good but not great photos of myself up. Then in the event that I meet someone in person, I look at least as good as the photos. Or pleasantly surprise them by looking better.

Also Anthony Weiner seems to have broken the societal taboo on explicit selfies. I have received unsolicited shots of guys' whahoosits several times now. This wasn't being done five years ago when I was last dating. I am mystified. If I want to see a guy's business, I prefer to see it in person at the appropriate moment thank-you-very-much.

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

What's a vine?

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan

Hilarious!

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKacy

Well sometimes the ONLY comfort I get is pretending that I don't look the way I really do. That's what all the hair coloring and makeup is all about and walking every single night is all about. So you can at least have ONE picture that doesn't present with the dull affect, dark circles, sagging chin and arms and front butt, fat back.
I was just looking at my ugly in the drivers side mirror and it was NOT nice. Not with my glasses on where I can see EVERY dscoloration and broken vein and pore and dark circle and EW, that hair was pulled back and i reminded myself of an old lady with my hair pulled back in a ponytail. Gross. time for a BOTOX and day of beauty so I see what I can DO with this mess! So...go ahead and do what you want. It's no secret that we are ALL trying to look our personal best when we are feeling like it...

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

No Botox here. No plastic surgery. Hair color? Yes. Makeup? Yes. But that's it. Don't start believing everyone is doing it, because we're not. I'll be 43 in July and one of that stuff for me.

You look fabulous. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

I agree about the selfie pose. And I am SO guilty. So to make myself think I'm not so into myself, I took a selfie RIGHT after getting out of the shower (neck up!) and posted it on FB and asked other people to do it too. No make up, posing, instagram,editing....Only one friend did it LOL.

April 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

Is it still a selfie if I just take a picture of what I'm doing with just parts of my body in it and no face?... "this book is soooo good! *picture of my hand on an open book that is sitting on my lap"

April 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

OMG i laughed so hard tears came to my eyes, mind you im at work infront of my boss. Hi monica im 24 and i love instagram ( and i love using a filter ) that being said i take way too many selfies. i take about 20 pics i like 4 and use pic stitch to post it on instagram. See ive realized i am so unphotogenic. Most pics takemn by someone else i dont even realize its me. Its pretty damn scary. But i think taking selfies make me feel better, cause damn it i know how to take a pic of myself =). Anyways im rambling and making no sense, you dont need botox... wait 10 more years if you decide to go for it.

April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandra

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>