Adia Watts, Copy Editor
Selfie. It was the Oxford Dictionary 2013 Word of the Year and is even the subject of a song. But what really is a selfie? Urban Dictionary defines it as “a picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website.” These days a selfie is much more than that. In the era of photoshop and digital enhancement, a selfie is a raw depiction of real people. Of course, there are filters that can be placed over the picture, like on the popular photo sharing site, Instagram, but that little change is nowhere near the caliber of manipulation that is done to pictures we see in magazines, on billboards and even TV.
Viewers of these images are usually young, impressionable girls,who become victims of photoshopped faces and airbrushed stomachs, which, in turn, foster skewed perspectives of what beauty really is. Recently, Dove created the Campaign for Real Beauty which urges women of all ages to truly accept themselves as beautiful. Dove released articles, advertisements and videos that encourage self-esteem and self-love without the use of Photoshop, showing everyday women learning to love themselves for who they are.
Aerie, a women’s underwear company owned by American Eagle, also started their own campaign for real beauty. On their website, Aerie states that “We think it’s time for a change … we want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like, inside and out, this means no more retouching our girls and no more supermodels. Why? Because there is no reason to retouch beauty. We think the real you is sexy.” Their campaign is called #aerieREAL and the emphasis is on real, unfiltered beauty—kind of like un-filtered snapchat selfies. Aerie also asked women to tag their selfies on social media sites with #aerieReal. The Huffington Post praised Aerie’s newest endeavor, saying their “decision to show its models in all their real, unretouched glory makes an even stronger statement because of who its customers are. The brand … is aimed at the 15-21 year old demographic, meaning young women in high school and college. And it’s widely held—and proven by numerous studies and surveys—that young women’s sense of body confidence is so often influenced by the images of female beauty they see in the media.” This begs the question: are selfies just another popular fad or are they something much more powerful?
Although these pictures or selfies of unretouched women and girls are just a small drop in the giant sea of digitally enhanced photographs, they are sure to start the ripples of change. If there is anything we can learn from these companies, it would be to love yourself, find your beauty and most importantly:take a selfie.