Woo Hoo! Represent!

Represent- A phrase showing acknowledgment to one’s background, home, social group, or original place of residence. Also similar to giving a Shout Outto one’s homeboys. (Urban Dictionary)

instagram application screengrab
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The definition above is what I think about when I hear the word “represent,” and then the other forms such as self-representation. It was refreshing to learn about knowledge and insight into ourselves this past week. Sadly, when it comes to education and learning, it seems as if the “self” and individuality drowns in foundation and curriculum. What was even better about this week’s topic was learning about self-representation online, which is just as important as self in real life.

When a person hears the word “selfie,” depending on age and opinion many ideas come to mind. Some people from an older generation might think of it as crazy teens and twenty-year-olds being self-involved and vain. Millennials would see it from the other spectrum as something fun and a personal artifact of their life to add to their online social media photo album. A selfie to me goes beyond taking a picture of myself on a day where my hair is in my place, and I’m wearing a new hat. A selfie means I have control (in a way) of what other people will see. Growing up I was always self-conscious and comparing myself to others. Once the selfie and social media came out, it was difficult to see celebrities or models post their pictures. However, I realized that by taking a selfie, I could focus on the features that I found beautiful about myself. (Example my lips or hair). I’m not Tyra Banks, but when I take a selfie, I sure do think I am.

We started off this self-representation on online life foundation with Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Lifewhich gave the idea and thoughts about self-representation through a lens of theater. This was the first book to tackle the subject and sociology behind face-to-face human contact on an everyday basis. “When an individual comes in contact with other people, that individual comes in contact with other people, that individual will attempt to control or guide the impression that others might make of them by changing or fixing their setting” (Goffman). I thought this was so interesting because I did this all the time but didn’t realize there was a particular science behind it. When I go to the doctor’s office, waiting room, or any place like that, I purposely read a book and not use my phone, so the people around me won’t view me with the stereotypes that people carry about a black person, a woman, or a young person. The ironic part about this is that online, I am “myself” and by that I mean I share the funny memes and gifs, I post on Facebook about things that aren’t really that important, but I found funny to share, etc. I don’t try to be someone else online.

After learning and diving into self-representation online, all of the flaws that I usually see in the mirror and in my selfies sometimes began to fade. A selfie doesn’t even have to be shared online. Most of the time, I will take a selfie, save it, and embrace it. There’s no pressing invisible judgment, it’s just for my eyes only. I think above anything else, having things (photos, videos, etc.) should be for your eyes only sometimes.

To turn to the darker side of self online, our third Studio Visit with Alec Couros really opened my eyes about deepfakes and catfishing online and how, unfortunately, people use self-representation and YOUR representation for bad. Scammers, catfishing, blackmailing, hacking, all of these negative parts to online life causes paranoia and anxiety about how much of myself is really online. Although it’s fun and comforting to share my new hairstyle on Facebook so my aunt who lives in another state could see, when does sharing become dangerous? We even spoke about children photos online and how personal they are. Once again, as sad as it is when does sharing the cute little girl who had braces but is now a growing teenager because unsafe online? A step to preventing these scares online is maybe putting and regulating laws that have consequences for these actions. Also, being more watchful of what we share and who we share it with but then there’s a limit to that as well. The light side to this is that having a recognizable online traceable behavior can prove, in fact, that this is the real you online.

Well, that about wraps it up for this week! Check out some other cool blogs and Twitter activity below by simply clicking the titles! Also, Check out the Selfie-Unselfie Project website and my blog about it blow! Enjoy! ❤

Blogs:

Diving in the Deep End of Digital Alchemy: Studio Visit

Self-Ie-E-Me {Fieldguide}

Selfie-Unselfie Project Website:

To Selfie and to Unselfie…That is the Task (Blog)

DDAs:

#dda164

#dda276

To Selfie and to Unselfie…That is the Task

I was born for this job! (Not really…but here we go!)

The #Selfie-Unselfie Project has fascinated me ever since I left class on Tuesday. This was the first time I have ever heard of an Unselfie. To my surprise, gathering my artifacts to describe my unselfie self was a challenge but turned into something interesting. As I collected the photos the collection that came from this process made me almost…dare I say it…emotional. I have ten pictures that basically sums up here. I am not on the surface without showing my face. Each photo has a different story and meaning behind it, and when I put it all together, I found how special I think I am without showing my face. As a female in this world, I always felt like I had to show my face to be seen. My creative writing, algebra skills, or interests in African American Studies weren’t considered good enough for a woman. But my face, that’s what everyone is interested in. But with the unselfies, I realized that what’s behind my beautiful selfies is something that goes beyond beauty. It’s me.

When it came to picking my selfies, I wanted to show my different hairstyles. As a young woman, hair for me is going to be important. However, as a young, black woman my hair is who I am; it’s my identity. It’s what you see on the same person with different looks throughout weeks and months. My selfies are not me being “full of myself” or “having a big head.” My selfies embrace my skin, my hair, my black beauty; which is something that is often, if not always, deemed to be ugly and not acceptable. I wanted to choose selfies that represented everything that I was told was “not good enough” or “I rather talk to your cousin because she’s light skin and light skins are prettier.” I wanted my selfies to say, “Embrace your brown Queen…embrace it.”

Selfie:

 

Unselfie:

 

Self-Ie-E-Me {Fieldguide}

two women taking photo
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Article: What Do #Selfies Say About the Psychology on You? by Anne Steele

Kaveena: What did you think of the article we had to read for class?

Xnirran:  This article truly articulates why a selfie is consider something positive instead of having such a negative weight to it. It’s not our fault that this is what we are growing up with.

Kaveena: I don’t know. I was born in 1994, and I think our generation is screwed enough, why do we have to take pictures of ourselves through it all?

Xnirran: I wouldn’t say we’re screwed up. I think we just do things differently and hear me out about this. The beauty of a selfie is that it doesn’t have to be only about you. You can take a selfie with your grandma and her homemade pie. You could take a selfie with your siblings wearing ugly Christmas sweaters on Christmas Eve. You could take a selfie with an old friend you haven’t seen in years and laugh at the grey hairs you two have. That’s why this article was trying to say. Ann Steele, who wrote the article, even said: “A selfie is an expression of a person’s identity.”

Kaveena: Even though I hear what you’re saying, I still have my doubts about how positive the selfie movement really is. We have completely lost the genuine and classic way of taking a picture with someone. Having your arms around them and forming a group and having someone take a picture for you. A selfie makes you distant from the people you’re supposed to be close to, just my opinion.

Xnirran: Nah, Steele also said, “It is capturing a moment in a person’s life that meant something to them…”

Kaveena: Yeah and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just saying people overdo it.

Xnirran: Hold on, hold on. She continues to say, “But it is also a method of finding oneself, of getting to know oneself. It is the Millennial generation’s stamp on the earth.”

Kaveena: Our stamp on earth comes from other things, not selfies if you ask me.

Xnirran: Okay, but as for selfies, this is a positive way for us to leave our mark. A selfie is a sense of control, comfort, safe spaces. Taking a selfie next to an LGBTQ+ flag is a space that so many people could not have done before. Taking a selfie in an All Black Lives Matter T-shirt marks a sense of control of the picture being portrayed instead of someone else flipping it into something negative or untrue.

Kaveena: Yes! That’s all very good. I just don’t want to see selfies of EVERYTHING, you know?

Xnirran: Ha, ha. I get you.

Kaveena: What would you rate this article on the light and dark scale?

Xnirran: Definitely a 10. Certainly showing the lighter side to something that always seems to get a negative response.

Kaveena: Fair enough!