Social Media, Makeup, and Fashion: Shallow or an Expression of Self-worth?

The line between confidence and arrogance has always been an unclear one for me.  I know I can vacillate between the two, especially on days when my self-esteem is lower.  For example: some days I’d say I’m confident, and I give little mind to the way my nose, cellulite, or skin looks.  Other days, often when I’m otherwise anxious or feeling guilty, I fixate on how much I hate my nose, the backs of my thighs, or any pimples on my chin.  It’s on these days that I’m more likely to obsess over any compliment, and tell others about it in a way that no doubt comes off as arrogant.  I overcompensate.  I feel ugly, but they think I’m pretty; so I’ll think about that instead of confronting my insecurities.

Social media makes many aspects of what I describe more intense.  It’s easy to compare yourself not just to models, but to real people with smaller noses and smoother skin.  It’s easier to get validation on those days you feel unattractive.

However, I think some people view this as the only reason someone would take a selfie.  I’ve heard people, usually young women, criticized for being vain or fishing for compliments if they take a selfie.  I’ve thought these things myself, especially if the woman in question is someone I envy.

I disagree with this.  I am just as likely to take a selfie on a confident day as I am on an insecure/arrogant day.  Sometimes I did a good job of getting my eyeliner even or got a new haircut, and want to share.  Sometimes the lighting is good and I simply like how my face looks.  I consider this pride in appearance to be on the confident side of the confidence/arrogance divide.

Even though I post selfies, I do sometimes feel shallow or frivolous doing so.  I question if it is inherently arrogant to share a picture of just your face.  In posting a selfie, you are asserting that your face is worth looking at.  While some may interpret this as “Look at me! I’m beautiful!”, I’m coming to see it more as, “Here I am, a worthwhile person.  I am going to be visible and take up space because I value myself.”

The same goes for fashion and makeup.  Some people see these things as silly, shallow feminine pursuits.  However, I see both as a means of expressing my personal tastes and self-worth.

Bold lipstick, which I am a big fan of, draws the eye and therefore attention.  By wearing bright lipstick a person does not make themself small and invisible, but the exact opposite.  This is part of why I wear bright red lipstick on days I want to feel strong.

Fashion, too, can be a means of self-care and self-love.  I spend a good deal of time reading magazines, figuring out which pieces are worth buying, and putting together outfits.  To me spending this time on myself not only allows me to project a curated image of myself to the world, but to reinforce that I consider myself someone worth spending time on.

Sometimes, this blog is a source of insecurity and self-doubt for me.  I wonder if sharing your thoughts means that you’re arrogantly believing they’re important enough to be shared.  Some days I have comforted myself by thinking I wrote because I enjoy it; but then why even share it?  Why not simply keep a journal?

I expressed this concern to a friend once, who told me sharing my blog is no more narcissistic than anyone else who shares photos on social media.  I realized I never see these people as narcissistic, nor do I even view anyone else’s blog posts as narcisstic.

I’m coming to believe that instead of an act of arrogance, sharing my blog is an expression of my self-worth.  I think my thoughts are valid and worth expressing, as are (almost) everyone else’s.  We all hold an equal claim to space and visibility in the world, but so many of us try to make ourselves small.  Maybe we’re trying to be humble, or maybe we think our presence is bothersome.  Personally, I am going to try to value myself and take up my space in the world with confidence and pride.

All of my love ❤


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