You know how sometimes you’ll see a photo on Facebook even though you aren’t friends with the person who posted it? (For instance, maybe they tagged a mutual friend.) The other day, I saw the photo of a friend of an acquaintance of a friend, and I spotted something.
Wait. Could it be? I must be looking at this the wrong way. Oh my…
I sat there in horror feeling embarrassed for this woman, while simultaneously wishing I could unsee the photo. I started refreshing the page, wondering when someone would clue her in to the fact that the world could see up her skirt. But no. “Like” after “like” and comment after comment, no one seemed to notice or care.
It wasn’t until then that it dawned on me: perhaps this wasn’t a mistake, a hastily posted photo that would soon be deleted. Maybe this woman posted the photo knowing exactly what it contained. Maybe this wasn’t anything like Elaine Benes’ Christmas card.
This made me think about signals. Don’t we all send messages to the world through our appearance, at least through the aspects of our appearance that are within our control? And what are we trying to tell others? Aren’t we, on some level, trying to set ourselves apart? Are we also telling the world how they should treat us?
These signals introduce us to everyone we cross paths with, whether it’s in-person or online. “Hi, nice to meet you. Here’s how you should treat me.”
And while I have never, ever, everevereverever posted a “my skirt is riding up” photo on Facebook, I am sending signals too.
I live in the “beautiful woman” capital of the world. Yet, I almost never wear make-up, I opt for glasses over contacts, and I haven’t dyed my hair in almost two years. I could go on and on about how I don’t like the way globs of make-up feel on my face or about how contact lenses make my eyes itch, but isn’t there more to it than that? After all, the way I present myself isn’t dependent on time or effort or comfort. It is by choice.
When I post a photo of myself on Facebook, what signal am I sending out into the world? Am I not trying to set myself apart from other women? Am I not, on some level, trying to lead my own little rebellion, my own glasses-wearing, make-up-less, nature-loving, approachable, come-as-you-are rebellion?
We are each leading a rebellion–you, me, crazy Facebook lady–and I wish you well in your battle, even if I’m fighting a different one.
Ready to lead a very friendly (and fully clothed) rebellion.