Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up

Selfie-Steem

Photograph by Bryanne Salazar

Lately, taking and posting a selfie on social media feels like a crime. Those of us who stretch our arms (or selfie-sticks) and pose for our own cameras are labeled narcissists and attention-seekers.

A few months ago, after finalizing a contract for a new job, I decided it was time to have headshots taken. For years, my author bio images were selfies with heavy applications of photo filtering for good measure. I liked the selfies, I but realized they didn't convey my professional side and I felt it was time for a change.

As I primped and prettied myself before the session, I decided to take a few selfies to capture how I looked. My hair had been styled, my makeup was flawless. In the moment I took those pictures, I felt beautiful and I happily shared them on my social media channels.

RELATED: Adorable Celeb Family Selfies

Nearly a week after my photo session, I received my professional images back and was disappointed. I didn't feel any of them captured my best angles — or my spirit — the way my own selfies taken just an hour prior to the shoot had done.

The experience left me a little jaded. I'd paid good money for the professional shots, and in the end, I preferred the ones I'd taken myself. Even though selfies are considered low-brow by many, they conveyed the exact image I wanted to share with the world. How could that be a bad thing?

Selfies aren't a new invention, as some may think. Frida Kahlo painted numerous self-portraits, such as "The Two Fridas" and "Thinking about Death." She wasn't the only painter to do so, either. In the advent of photography, there were quite literally hundreds of self-taken pictures that date all the way back to the mid-19th Century.

While these images are celebrated, even revered, the everyday selfie posted by women and mothers like myself are regarded as egotistical, self-absorbed and vain. I hate to be the odd-woman-out, but I totally disagree.

Why are we so threatened by a selfie? What makes a personally taken, hand selected image so off-putting that it becomes acceptable to throw shade? In the bigger scheme of life, why does fish/duck face matter more than, I dunno, access to quality education or employment?
Photograph by Bryanne Salazar

Selfies are unique, individual representations of self-identity. Each photo posted by someone is a message to the world. They are saying "this is me, this is what I value, and this is what I want you to know about who I am."

Veronica Arreola, the writer behind Viva La Feminista and assistant director of a women's research center at a Chicago university, founded the #365FeministSelfie movement that seeks to empower women in front of their own, self-pointed lens. In a New York Times piece from earlier this year, Arreola shares how she believes selfies, especially taken with our children, can create lasting memories for our families once we pass away. It was her own painful realization that her mother, now deceased, had often been the one behind the camera, but rarely in front of it, leaving few images to treasure.

When I spoke with Arreola about my experience with the professionally photographed images, she had some insight as to why I didn't like the pictures.

"I feel that presenting ourselves in a selfie is powerful and that sometimes when others take our photos, we aren't in power of our image and that can color how we feel about them."

As for society shaming women who post selfies; Arreola shut down the haters. "Vain is a great word to make women feel terrible about wanting to feel good about themselves."

Why are we so threatened by a selfie? What makes a personally taken, hand selected image so off-putting that it becomes acceptable to throw shade? In the bigger scheme of life, why does fish/duck face matter more than, I dunno, access to quality education or employment?

I'm calling foul. We can't be a society that claims to empower women and in the same breath make fun of women who take and post selfies. We don't have to like or even agree with every image — that's not the point — but we shouldn't shame others who feel good enough about themselves to share their selfies. When we do, we are marginalizing their voices, and that makes us oppressors. Yuck.

So sister-friend, take your selfie and post away. If you feel beautiful, more power to you. Don't let anyone's disapproval stop you from shining. I know I won't. Smile. Click. Share.

RELATED: Funniest Celeb Mom Selfies

Share this on Facebook?

Explore More: social networks, body image, mamá a mamá, Latina Mom
More from lifestyle