…but why is vanity such a deplorable thing, anyway?
We’re nearly halfway through the year, however that happened. You can, therefore, be forgiven if your elephant memory happened to forget that “selfie” was THE word of 2013, according to the Oxford Dictionary. Old news, I know, but England and Europe are lazy, and we get US Vogue a month behind the Yanks. Not only did Kimye grace its hallowed pages, but so did an article lauding Kate Upton as the face of “the selfie generation”. With all the terrible press this same generation gets – us entitled, pushy, self-absorbed, and unfathomably obnoxious millenials, shame on us – well, of course we would be fans of the front-facing camera. And of course that’s just another reason to denigrate our deluded, inflated egos for the smoke and mirrors they are.
My real problem with defining vanity as the cardinal sin is that it really is just another way to put someone down. See someone taking a photo of themselves, smiling (or, hell, even pouting) for seemingly no reason? How dare they fool themselves into believing that they are that attractive. How dare they impose their face on anybody with the lack of foresight required to wade into the cesspool that is social media? Because, Goddamn it, I can, and so can they. Judge their makeup, clothes, duckface, any of that, but don’t judge that they’re comfortable sharing their face with social media.
As I’ve stated ad nauseam and then some, I live abroad. Impromptu mugshots of me are just one of the many ways that any of my family/friends/reverse harem can keep track of me. You know what, though? It’s a damn good one. I take photos of myself when I look AND when I feel good. Not seeing me making duck face all over your iPhone screen means it’s time to call the therapist. Sorry I’m not sorry. Need more proof that “vain” isn’t the worst thing you can label somebody? Well, there are maybe ten photos of me between starting university in September of 2011, and the beginning of 2013. Of those that exist, none are going up on here; frankly, I look like a corpse bride, and not just in the way I resemble Her Ladyship on any given early morning. That says nothing and everything about my mental state at the time.
Thus, any example of vanity is generally a sign that we want to be remembered, and this is how. Not just in pixels, but by those around us. You can conform to and/or criticise modern beauty standards all you want, but they didn’t spring up overnight; they just changed shape. Pretty much literally. So sue me if I want my hypothetical descendants only to see those photos in which I’ve dolled myself up and feel absolutely knockout stunning. Nobody knows my best, most flattering angles better than I do. Likewise, nobody wants to see the photo my darling brother took of me after a day’s travelling. And so sue me if sometimes, I want the ego boost of someone shouting after me that I’m pretty/beautiful/hot in the street. Keep it clean and out of my personal space, and that kind of validation is pretty sah-weet. Again, sorry I’m not sorry.
It isn’t just when you look good, though. Who hasn’t taken the piss out of themselves by posting a Beyoncé-style selfie captioned “I woke up like dis”? I didn’t and still don’t agree with the selfie for cancer awareness bandwagon – that’s a whole other rant. If, however, you can’t commiserate lightheartedly with your fellow man and woman that you don’t look fit for the red carpet without makeup/with a face mask on/so hungover it’s a wonder you woke up/all of the above, the alternative is, frankly, just too depressing. You don’t have to take this vanity malarkey so seriously! Let’s all sit in a circle, sing Kumbayah, and bitch that we don’t look like the love child of Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson, and every single winner of People’s Most Beautiful Award. It’s a bonding experience.
(no, there is no example of an “I woke up like dis” selfie. I do have some dignity hidden somewhere…)
I will say it loud, and I will say it proud: I am vain. I (usually) care about and take pride in how I look. Aged almost twenty-one, I am not ashamed to have a princess complex larger than the Graff diamond, and control freak tendencies that would make Monica Gellar blush. For goodness’ sake, I write a blog, the ultimate in vanity publishing. I wear those labels happily, because they’ve got me where I am today, and that’s not a bad place, thanks. Should you still look down on me because I want to be remembered for what I did AND what I wore, and because I invest time and (far too much) money in the latter? Well, go ahead and throw stones.
…but first, let me take a selfie.