the power of the selfie knows no bounds. As 2013’s word of the year, social networks are still littered with these innumerable selfportraits, as just about every smartphone and tablet are equipped with front-facing cameras. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Well known for its drive to improve women’s self-image, Dove debuted its latest campaign – simply titled Selfie – at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The short film sets out to show that not only can the images we see on social networks impact our perceptions of beauty; they can change them for the better. The video, that has since popped up on a number of news and social-network sites, follows a group of teenage girls and their mothers, who were asked to take selfies of themselves, focusing on all the things they can’t look at for too long in the mirror, with no filters or edits; targeting their body-image and self-esteem struggles with the click of a button. Each selfie was blown up and featured in an exhibition where people could stick postit comments on the photographs. Unlike the troll-infested comments sections on sites like Instagram, each image was covered with the things that others found to be beautiful, allowing the subjects to look at themselves through others’ eyes. Perhaps it is not enough to counter the overwhelming number of edited photographs of women with perfect hair, faces and bodies online, but it is a start. Social media is fast becoming a great equalizer.You can choose what you want to see, share and be exposed to. The media flooding your life is yours to curate and that choice and responsibility is empowering. Honouring your perception of beauty means how you see yourself and others is no longer being written for you – the self-worth blame game has been turned on its head. By drawing your own beauty parameters, the media can’t make you feel anything – too fat, too short, too dark or too light.The only expectations left to conform to are your own. For me, beauty is the days I look in the mirror without sighing.And sometimes, a huddle of duckfaces on a dance floor.
Dove’s Selfie campaign.