The Selfie Generation
- and Compulsive Need to “Measure Up”
We live in an era where flawlessness can be bought, plucked, injected, removed, tweaked or prodded at arguably reasonable prices. And the better you look, the more rewarded you are. If someone posts a #nomakeup #nofilter selfie, it’s typically when their skin is radiant. If it’s not, we applaud them for their “bravery.”
A little over a decade ago, I wasn’t so shy about taking and posting pics as I am now. Sure, that could be because I’m older. But maybe it's because I wasn’t aware of just how much I didn’t know.
I had no idea what I was doing back then - just as much as I have no idea what I’m doing now. But back then, I didn't know I didn't know.
Ignorance is bliss.
Bad eyeliner, a rough haircut, and fashionless clothes would reside in a one-time snap on my camera til the pics came through at a Walmart print-out station. I’d laugh at how good I “thought” I looked, file it away in an envelope - or if I was ambitious, an actual album - and move on with my day. -Living my life.
Now, I’d have immediate gratification. Or, ya know, not.
This is a fun moment for me and I'm glad I captured it.
I’ve wanted a helix piercing from the time I was 11. Hell, I pierced it myself 3x when I was younger only to have it ripped out by my mother each time she saw it. Horribly painful - but I know it was out of love. LOL!
A student of mine had just gotten hers done and asked why I never went back and did it. Great question. That afternoon, I drove to a tattoo/piercing shop on Ventura, sat in a barber's chair, and got a something my pre-teen heart had been yearning for.
I was so happy.
I mean, look at that smile.
Unfortunately, six months later, the piercing never healed, and I had to take it out. BUT! This memory lives on my phone.
It serves a different purpose for me now, though - Because, I wonder: What was wrong with the first snap?
The lighting was off? Bad angle? Weird smile? Take your pick.
When I took this photo, I remember I didn’t feel like I “looked good enough” to share it.
Which is ridiculous because, in retrospect, I think I look great!
I’m not sure if it was my OCD - the fact that I’m in the entertainment industry - insecure about some shit I gotta work though - or hell, maybe all three.
But really, what was wrong with the first pic?
And if not the first, what was wrong with the 5th? The 10th?
Why a flood of selfies to “get the perfect shot” that doesn’t exist?
Who taught us this?
Did we do this to ourselves?
At what point did perfection become the status quo? And if you’re not measuring up, there’s an overwhelming feeling that “no one needs to hear from you.”
I keep waiting for the trend to end.
I admire 20-year olds who don’t have social media accounts - don’t watch make-up tutorials online - and who barely run a comb through their hair before going out and sharing their talent with the world.
That use-to be me.
But I had a funny conversation with my husband the other day when he asked around what time I started working professionally in this business.
Maybe it’s irony - maybe it’s just the reality of the entertainment biz - but I didn’t start working "professionally" until I joined a dance team with former Laker girls and learned that "natural" is a relative term.
These girls showed me a lot.
The hair teasing, the perfect eyebrow shape, the contour, the tan, the lips, the lashes. It's exhausting.
I still struggle with it today.
Growing up in a small suburban town, the only time I ever used-to use a curling iron was if I was going to prom. Now, if I want “look like me,” the only way I can achieve that is with a soft curl.
This might just be my issue. But in case it's not, and anyone else can relate to what I'm saying here, then…
Share that fucking selfie.
You look great!
And when you look back in six months, you'll look even better.
Perfection is not the status quo. You’re awesome as you are!