All is vanity

I don’t think of myself as a vain person; I suppose most people tend not to think bad things about themselves. You see, the whole image thing is a big issue for me, raising two girls as I am. With the rampant sexual objectification of women in our magazines, tv commercials, billboards and social media, it has become something I definitely have my radar up for.

And in the process, I have been especially conscious of whether I walk the talk. Do I worry about my hair? (Not overly) Do I always feel I need to wear makeup if going out or people coming to my house? (Mostly but I’m getting better at this one) Do I say I’m fat or obsess over my weight? (No, not really at all) Am I conscious generally of how I look? (Not usually, no) Do I get annoyed if an unflattering photo of me is taken? Weeeeellll, that leads to my point.

You see, I didn’t think so until recently.

I was at a girls weekend with friends. We took a photo of all of us, using my phone, and the photo, of me in particular, is, in my opinion, quite unflattering. One of these so called friends hi-jacked my phone and posted it to facebook, as you do.

I found I really didn’t like that. I was whinging again about it later, once others in the group started sharing it to their facebook walls etc, when one of the friends leaned quietly over to me and said gently “Susannah, do we need to have a little talk?”

And that was when I realised that I wasn’t as immune as I thought.

It was a great reminder to keep challenging myself because clearly I have some ways to go. And I think, it’s a constant battle as women to live without thought for how we look.

So, then, as I thought about writing this, I thought, well, it would really mean progress if I actually showed you the photo.

I’m still not okay with it (so maybe this is some sort of subconscious form of self-punishment?) but I figure if I can do this, then it will say something to my children about their self-images and, you never know, it just might encourage another woman to be less concerned with her image (it’s gotta be for something, right? Right???)

Anyway, here it is 🙂 And yes, I checked with the other delightful girls in the pic and they are AOK with it.

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9 thoughts on “All is vanity

  1. It’s a delightful picture, but that’s really beside the point.

    The point is that your phone was used without your consent, and a picture of you was posted in a public forum without a verbal release.

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s a violation of your privacy. The person who unbraided you for your reaction was out of line.

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    • Nah, it was all in good fun 🙂 Shenanigans were the order of the weekend!

      Ps, thanks for saying it’s a delightful picture – it certainly does capture the fun we were all having!

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  2. Susannah, good for you for wanting your words and behavior to be consistent. I admire that very much.
    I love the silliness and spontaneous fun that’s obvious between you all, and it is a wonderful photo!!

    {Even so, I have to say I’m with Andrew on not posting pix without saying its okay (unless you have an ongoing verbal agreement that each other can post anything). Maybe put your girls in that scenario if their friends posted something w/out permission? }

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    • Thanks Denise! 🙂

      In regards to the posting of the photo – the point is, I wouldn’t have posted it myself but because my friend did, it shone a light on an issue I need to deal with (also, lets not forget, I could have taken it down a second after she put it up!).

      Also, back in the days before digital photography, if someone took a photo of you, and after seeing the print, you don’t like the photo, even though it’s not compromising or demeaning in any way, you demanded they never show it to anyone, or that they tear it up and destroy the negative, wouldn’t that be a little over the top? Yes, the scale is different with facebook etc, but aren’t we being just a little precious if we get upset over the fact that we may not expressly have given permission?? Especially as it clearly is a group of friends and not randomly taken by someone on the street.

      Possibly, we’re just a bit different here in Aus, but I can see no problem here, other than the fact that due to conceit, I don’t happen to like the photo.

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      • Hi Susannah,
        Probably things aren’t much different in Aus; it’s more likely attributable to the fact I tend to be overly sensitive about things I consider privacy issues. (I don’t even have a FB account) so I always err on the side of caution -to the extreme I do admit. You are right about this being a group of friends just having fun and I definitely see your version.
        Thanks for bringing some balance to my perspective; I still struggle with black/white thinking now and again.

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        • Denise 🙂 We all have our issues (mine, vanity; yours, privacy) and I love that we can ‘get’ each other and help each other along the way. My response was insensitive (I think I was a bit defensive of my friend!) and I can see how for some, posting a photo without permission would be a bigger deal than it was for me.

          Bless you, my friend. Your sweet soul is a joy to know xo

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  3. My profile photo is such a lie. I never look that good. I had a professaional make-up artist, I had a professional photographer. What I look like really? Oh, good, Lord. I guess that’s why my family never takes photos of me! But I am ready to come out. I’m ready to show the real me. Because, I’m old…57 my soon birthday. I deserve these wrinkles! I deserve the gray hairs! I deserve the sagging everything. I”ve lived life. I’m sliding in sideways…

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    • I think most of us have a profile pic that is, in some way, not the real us. Take mine for instance, dressed up for a wedding, black and white (which is always more flattering!) – definitely not how I look on any given ordinary day!

      Like you say, wrinkles, gray hairs, saggy skin – all testament to a life well lived! And I much prefer to be and be surrounded by others who are sliding in sideways instead of sedately walking in! 🙂

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