How Selfies Ruin Everything

 

I woke up the day after the election to a text from a friend that said, “I didn’t think this was possible.”  I opened CNN, along with all of my social media accounts, to make sure this was really happening. I thought for sure someone was going to let us all know something disastrous happened at the polls. Maybe they miscounted 49% of the votes? 

As the reality of a Trump presidency started to breathe itself into existence, I set out to blame everyone. I blamed the third party voters for wasting their ballot. I blamed the black community for not showing up like they did for Obama. I blamed the DNC who ruined us when they pushed for Clinton instead of Bernie. I blamed the Christians who voted against abortions, but for misogyny and rape. I blamed the working class in America who wanted change – no matter who gave it to them. I blamed the liberal media for deceiving us into thinking Trump didn’t stand a chance. I blamed SNL for sensationalizing Trump’s persona by mocking him, subsequently drawing more press and attention to his campaign. I blamed Fox News for turning him into someone relatable; someone a guy could chat with in a locker room.

I turned into everything I hated about Trump, blaming everyone but myself. Because after all – I was the progressive thinker who voted Hillary. 

In my state of naivety, I scrolled through Instagram for a break from the news, but my heartache deepened. In my feed I saw Khloe Kardashian bragging that her Lip Kit sold out in 6 seconds, I scrolled through selfies of intelligent women with Snapchat puppy-dog noses and flower crowns, spotted Kyle Richards advertising a hair vitamin with over 10k likes, and watched Kate Upton share her secrets to “the perfect brow”. Is this what ruined us? Do we not believe in ourselves? Are we too caught up in the hype of media, the hype of selfies, of being pretty? Are we too afraid to think independently? Are we afraid of taking charge? Are we afraid of being powerful, instead of sexy? How else could 53% of female voters elect this man? Do they not know their own value? 

I wanted to throw my phone across the room, or anywhere that could magically make the female race look more like it does in my head. 

I am not insinuating that the state of our country rests solely in the hands of our Instagram feed, but if you’ve been wondering what is keeping us from being seen as the next president of the United States – It’s your selfie, it’s my selfie, and it’s our need to promote our beauty more than the authoritative person that lives behind what the world wants us to be. Why is this how we choose to represent who we are? Why is this the norm for women? If we want to be perceived as powerful, we need to start representing that in our feeds instead of doe-eyed selfies with porcelain skin. If we want the media to stop placing us on an impossible standard – we need to stop trying to meet that standard. There are lots of reasons we lost and there are copious people we can fault, but it is hard to deny the fact that we lost because Hillary Clinton was compared against an ideal version of what society thinks a woman should be. She lost and we will continue to lose until that depiction of women is shifted.

When the results started rolling in Tuesday I felt threatened. I felt lied to, betrayed and even undermined by a nation that could actually vote and side with a man so bitter towards progress and equality. On Wednesday, when I  had to continue on with my life, everything seemed pointless. Why go to school when no one will ever see me as a leader? Why educate myself when I’ll only ever be seen as a number between 1 & 10? This isn’t the life I voted for. 

This election, if nothing else, has given me a strange urgency to tell you your voice is powerful. You are powerful on your own accord. You don’t need me, or any sensationalized media to derive self worth. I hope you know that.

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Image from Lenny Letter

Trump winning is not the female race’s fault, but maybe we can take this election as a growing pain that pushes us to a higher, more authoritative mindset. I’m not saying we can’t feel beautiful, dress well, or wear makeup. We are beautiful women, and I love the desire to express that, but we need to focus on flouting the image 49% of the United States have towards women. This win says a lot about our nation, about our gender equality, and about the female race not being taken seriously. It’s time we change our mindset. It’s time we change the mindset of everyone who can’t see past the girl. We are powerful. Let’s make everyone else think that too.

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A Lesson in Triple Zoom

Lately I’ve been attempting to study for the GRE. Some days I clock significant study time, other days I make 40% on the question sets and decide to devote my life to critiquing myself and everything I suck at.

Yesterday that critiquing came in the form of this photo:

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I’m a dancer by nature. And by dancer, I mean I’m a master at the white girl clap and flaring my arms about with occasional drop it like it’s hot moments. When the music is perfect my body can’t resist the shoulder pops and fishing reel.

I think that’s the aftermath of being a cheerleader/Cotten girl for most of my #lyfe.

In the excitement of the night I forget the world can see me act a fool, but the following days carry an imminent showcase of that dancing moment in a more public light. A light without jazzy tempos and bass drops. A light with lots of flaws captured in a photo and readily available for the Triple Zoom Test that my favorite #synergy girls taught me.

The Triple Zoom Test determines if any given photo is worthy of social media sharing. It has become our new standard. We zoom in three times, as you may have guessed, and assess the damage. Many times, the Trip Zoom leaves an image marred in my memory for days.

ie:

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The resemblance, y’all.  I can’t stop laughing.

The Trip Zoom is something to fear. I’m talking scarier than the G train after midnight.

At first I loved the photo of me dancing, and thought it perfectly showcased the night of my  sister’s wedding. I was in Louisiana with my entire family in one room, endless whiskey, and a killer band. In that moment life was good.  Really, really good.

When I saw the photo on the wedding site I instantly saved it. I went to Insta with intentions to post, but first tried out the trip zoom test.  It failed (obvi), and I refrained from posting it.

Later that day I tried to pinpoint when I became such a diva. I’m not J. Law. My flaws aren’t cute, but they don’t matter. No one is triple zooming me but ME.

I hate that we (when I say we I mean me) let impossible standards become a new norm. I constantly talk about how little I care about what others think, and how we should all be ourselves – then my actions don’t match up. It’s like I know what I should be doing, but I can’t get my act together.  So, here’s to showcasing the flaws along with the beauty. Here’s to selfies that people will actually recognize as you – not some wannabe, insta famous girl.

-Cap