We live in the age of selfies.
Anyone who’s friended a teenage girl on Facebook knows all about the craze. I’m not sure when “duck face” entered into the vernacular, but those pouting lips are unmistakable.
If you missed the whole teen selfie scene, all you have to do is pop onto Kim Kardashian’s Instagram. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Selfies are the ultimate in self-promotion. They show us off exactly as we want to be seen.
No more depending on someone else to click the shutter. We’re in control of exactly what we show to the world.
If you’re a woman who’s single and has some interest in snagging a guy’s attention, then reality is staring you square in the face:
Selfies are non-negotiable.
The online world requires avatars. An image that represents you. A head shot.
Social media sites want them. Online dating sites want them. Business networking sites want them.
As much as our mothers taught us looks aren’t important, that no longer holds true in the digital age. When all the action is happening online, we’re forced to judge books by their covers.
Online, the sum total of who you are is some text and a picture. But no one’s going to read the text. All they have time for is a glance at your pic.
That glance takes 40 milliseconds.
And they either scroll past or click to find out more.
So you have to care about the image that represents you online. It has to communicate everything you want to communicate. It has to catch people’s attention. In a good way.
Teenage girls have figured out one possible angle. Their selfies scream sex appeal. The pouting lips, the provocative pose, the exaggerated makeup, the sultry eyes. The message is clear: they’re hot and they want everyone to know it.
Adult women have to be careful about the “I’m so sexy” selfie, because our pics have to represent us professionally as well. We have to consider what our boss might see.
When women of a certain age try to do a selfie—usually because they’re trying to put up an online dating profile at 11pm at night without letting anyone know—well, you’ve seen the results. Can we agree it just doesn’t work?
All of us, no matter our age, need a decent picture of ourselves, and in most cases we’re going to have to do it ourselves. Because it’s way too embarrassing to get professional photos done (unless you’re a real estate agent).
So here’s what you do.
You make yourself look presentable, get out your phone, consider where to stand, then hold your phone out as far as your arm will go. Smile – click.
Sometimes, when there aren’t enough bad things happening in the world to worry about, I lament the state of profile pics.
There are so many grainy, unfocused, unflattering pictures floating around out there. Just scroll through any social media site. Bad, bad photos of really nice, otherwise attractive people.
Why does the camera DO this to us? Why does it reduce nice people to shadowy blobs with red eyes and shiny foreheads?
It’s because your attractiveness is attractiveness in action. You’re gorgeous when you’re happy, smiling, talking about something you’re passionate about, or hugging someone you love. In that moment, you just radiate. But there’s rarely a camera around to capture it.
A camera doesn’t look at us with eyes of love. It objectively and specifically records dots of color and light. It freezes us in place.
But you’re more than an assembly of thousands of dots. You’re YOU. You have emotions and feelings and passions. You love and scream and cry. Isn’t there any way a camera can convey THAT?
There is. Kind of.
The secret to taking an amazing self-portrait is to do it when you’re feeling great.
Forget about how you look. Think about how you feel.
Wait until you’re feeling really happy, really relaxed, really content, and at peace with the world around you. Feel like you can send love to the image of yourself being captured in the camera.
Only THEN snap that selfie.
It’s a moment in time. So don’t plan it. Just do it.
Take the photo quickly, before you get self-conscious or start thinking too much.
Chances are, if you snap a few dozen selfies—just to be on the safe side—the first one or two will be the best. You can actually see your expression freezing from shot to shot, your smile going all plastic and artificial.
When you look at the image of yourself you’ve captured, you may not feel as if you look your best. Maybe you’re sweaty, your hair is in your face, or your smile is a bit crooked.
But you feel warm and friendly towards that face smiling at you from the screen. When you look happy, peaceful, and loving, you blow all those duck-faced lingerie models out of the water.
And if you have a teenager in your life who insists on spending her evenings shut inside her bedroom with her makeup kit and camera phone, then suggest to her that going for a walk on the beach one evening or playing in the garden with her pet might offer more appealing and visually interesting selfie opportunities.
Because taking a selfie isn’t about showing off our sex appeal.
It’s about showing what makes us tick.
What makes us love.
Our hearts, shining through our eyes.