I’m 41.5 years old. Wow.
Lately, I keep running into online comments that in the Information Age, people tend to “hide” their true appearance online. They pick out only the “best” photos of themselves to share via social media, hoping to live up to some idealized image of themselves.
That idea has been bugging me.
Because I think it might be true.
And if it is, then I’m starting to wonder if social media is becoming just one more way that people can pick apart themselves and other people. In editing out the truth of our appearance, we’re bringing the cultural baggage of the “the beauty myth” into cyberspace.
With those thoughts bumping around in my head, I stumbled across this post by Ashley Judd. She begins with the promise of starting something:
The Conversation about women’s bodies exists largely outside of us, while it is also directed at (and marketed to) us, and used to define and control us. The Conversation about women happens everywhere, publicly and privately. We are described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification. Our voices, our personhood, our potential, and our accomplishments are regularly minimized and muted.
I think it’s time that we change that conversation and “unmask” ourselves online.
And that’s why there’s a picture of me today without a drop of makeup in daylight.
Because this is what I really look like, the face behind the blog posts, Twitter and Facebook chats.
This is me, an ordinary woman at 41.5 years of age–right down to the red birthmark on my forehead that flares when I’m angry, hot, or exhausted. The same mark that the dermatologist told me last year that she could “take care of” for me.
(I kept the mark–and got rid of the dermatologist.)
What about you–do you think that Ms. Judd is on to something? Do you think that social media is adding to the pressure that women feel to look a certain way? To fit an ideal?
UPDATE: Patty Fitch Hicks, as promised, went barefaced on her blog, too. Go check it out!