Project Title:
Gender and Beauty Expectations

Dates Active:
Fall 2013 – Spring 2014

In today’s society of technology, the use of social media and bombardment by digital media from all around has become a part of our daily lives almost as much as breathing itself. As we scroll through status updates and absorb countless images and sounds from advertisements, we usually don’t think about what is really happening to our minds. We have chosen to try and answer the question, how does media impact teens in our society? We know that what we see around us effects the perceptions that we develop and believe about ourselves and interact with others through our identity, gender and sense of beauty, so what are we going to do about it?

Our group evolved from researching and discussing topics of media in general and beauty expectations to how this is manifested through the present day explosion of the “Selfie” phenomenon. Nearly all of us in the group ourselves use various forms of social media, and post our selfies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other outlets. But why do we do this? And what else could selfies be used for?

Members of our group dove deeper into the story of selfies and where this comes from. Needless to say, there is a rich history of photography and other visual artists such as painters and sculptors who have been creating works of art through self-portraits in creative ways for centuries. However, the technological development of cameras, digital camera-phones, and now smart-phones with the capability to take pictures and immediately share them, has no doubt been the catalyst in recent years for the explosion of selfies. At the root it is way of documenting ourselves, of showing the world where we are at, what we look like, or what we’re doing in a particular instant. But we know that many people, especially teens in our society, are engrossed with selfies because of the ‘likes’ and comments that they will receive. To learn more about how our friends and other teens in our society actually use or are impacted by selfies, and to challenge them, we chose to create a campaign called “LoveURselfie.”

During this campaign, we challenged ourselves and those around us to post selfies, not the usual selfies of showing off and making faces, but to think about what is going on around the world around us, and who we are with through selfies. Each day there was a different theme and hashtag, so that as a whole we could re-imagine how it is we look at ourselves and what we expect people to see when they look at us.

“LOVEURSELFIE ” challenge! #hashtag #LOVEURSELFIE with your picture.
A daily theme will challenge beauty, social, and gender expectations that
media and society have for all of us. Describe what the picture meant to you
at the time of taking the selfie and why you chose to take it

Take a selfie representing or doing your passion

Take a selfie embracing your natural hair

Take a selfie with a community issue

Take a selfie representing your race/gender

Take a selfie with someone that has impacted your life
in a positive way

Take selfie while being healthy or
doing something good for your body

Take a selfie embracing your culture,
tu cultura

Our team presented our research and results of the selfie challenge at the 2014 National Association of Chicana and Chicano Scholars (NACCS) conference held in Salt Lake City, UT.

Feel free to start your own campaign or continue adding to this one!