There are times when I feel like I’ve stepped into an alternate universe, a world where Donald Trump is celebrated for his lack of empathy and overt arrogance while women are slut-shamed on social media and called “narcissistic” for taking a selfie.
But then I remember that it’s just another day in patriarchy.
In patriarchy, no one is really all that concerned about a cis, white, straight male strutting around, stroking his ego, and ruthlessly attempting to crush anyone who makes him feel like less than the absolute most superior being in the universe.
Trump could be a stand-in for Narcissus himself, but cis, white, straight men are used to being able to indulge in self-grandiosity at other’s expense. No one finds it shocking when they do so because patriarchy has established that as a man’s prerogative.
However, women daring to self-validate—that indeed is a threat to society.
If women began to learn that they could appreciate themselves outside of the male gaze, they might decide that they don’t need to cater to the male gaze.
If women discovered that they could recognize and declare their own value—that their value came from within rather than from without—they might discover that respect and humanity is something they deserve simply because they are, not because it is “generously” bestowed upon them from the menfolk.
If women were able to love themselves and continue to love others, they might figure out that they don’t need to sacrifice their own well-being in order to be in relationship with others.
Selfies give women control over how they reveal themselves to the world and power to self-determine their own sense of who they are.
In the face of such a threat to the control of the other half of the population, patriarchy could only respond in a handful of ways—convince women that selfies are still about the male gaze and gaining approval from men or, when that fails, shame women for being self-absorbed.
If patriarchy is so threatened by women who self-validate by snapping a little picture, imagine what would happen if women became conscious of the power they have at the tip of their fingers….