Put Yourself In The Picture.

Selfies Collage

I clicked on a link last night, the heading was something like “This will change how you view selfless”. The little travellers are big fans of the Selfie so I suggested they might want to watch it as well. As we all proceeded to huddle around the screen there were injuries, someone sat on someone who was in someone else’s space. I copped an elbow and screamed for everyone to JUST BE QUIET AND WATCH THE BLOODY VIDEO CLIP…anyway, I digress. I had no idea the clip was made by Dove when I viewed it, when their logo came on the screen at the end I had that familiar sinking feeling of being manipulated. My 10 year old son saw the Dove logo and said “So, it’s just a shampoo commercial?”

Watch out Dove, this next generation are acutely aware of why you make these ads.

I’ll admit it, I struggle with anything Dove related, the whole Unilever thing, I wondered why they only chose girls for the exercise when young boys are also posting selfies and seem to be equally body conscious. I wondered why they only spoke of their mothers being self critical when I’ve seen plenty of fathers make the same mistake.

There was something I liked though, I liked the sentiment about selfies providing a new way of defining how we see beauty. Over the summer I deleted endless selfies from my phone and iPad that the little travellers had taken. 140 pictures of them contorted their lips, crossing their eyes, and generally looking like they’d just been bitten on the bum by a swarm of red ants. Three out of four of my travellers have Instagram accounts where they and their friends share pictures from the pages of books they’re reading, memes they like, sports they’re playing, and friends they’re visiting. What I love about these shots is the acceptance of being a dag, you’re allowed to look goofy. A girlfriend of mine with a 15 year old daughter asked “why do they have to pull a face like that?” after viewing the latest evidence of her highjacked phone, her daughter cross eyed with lips arched in opposing directions. I thought about the alternative. A pose? Something showing a bit of midriff, boobs pushed together with a duck face?

What I liked about the clip (as manipulated as it was) was the fact that it showed the uniqueness of the girls and their mothers. It reminded me that so often when we’re worried about our unruly hair or our fat arms or someone noticing that huge zit, no-one else can see it.

No-one will ever look at me and be as critical as I am on myself.

No-one else really cares about how I look. They care if I’m happy, easy to live with, and able to pick them up from softball practice.

How many of us look at pictures of ourselves and wish we were as thin as we were when we first thought we were fat? I found a picture of me pregnant at age 33 with my second little traveller; my skin looked fantastic, my hair shiny, I was in Singapore with friends by the pool. I remember the first time I saw the picture, being horrified at how huge I looked. I hated it.

I love that picture now.

Selfies for a mother mean that she can pick up her phone at any time of the day and snap a moment with a child. Go do it. I wish my mother could have.

Put yourself in the picture.

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