That’s why so many of us know how to do the perfect selfie. Camera up high, suck the cheeks in, but avoid duck lips. And that meal you created? We make pretty meals here too, so make sure you arrange the food just so on a colorful plate. We nail the perfect foodstagram.
What won’t I post? The days I wake up hideous, my meals that veer toward all beige. So, if you see my social media accounts, you might think my life is always a pretty party. Multiply that times every other person on social media and you might understand why someone whose whole life is beige might feel a little…alone.
Random selections from the Instagram #uglyselfie page.
A recent story from The New York Times, "Campus Suicide and the Pressure of Perfection," examines a cluster of suicides among young people. One of the reasons listed for the feelings of inadequacy that led to the suicides was the young teens' comparison of themselves to the “carefully curated” online lives of peers. When the pressure is to be perfect, and all your friends online look perfect, what does it say about you that you are so much less than perfect? In response to this phenomenon, Penn University started an “ugly selfie” movement on Instagram and Facebook. At the time of this posting there were 123,343 posts on Instagram with the hashtag "uglyselfie."
Random selections from the Instagram #uglyselfie page, including a post referencing The New York Times' story
Maybe we don’t have to go that far. Maybe we can resolve to just capture the bad as well as the good with our selfies. To figure out that our “good side” is head on rather than slightly tilted, hand on hip to look slimmer. To curate our online presence to be just a little more… real.