Selfies are given a bad rap. As with most reputations, there’s some legitimacy in there, and also as with most reputations, the legitimacy is overgeneralized.

Some selfies are from single parents who have no one else to take photos of them much of the time. If they want a picture together with their kid, they have to take it themselves.

Partnered parents whose partners are not inclined to pick up the phone and snap a photo—that’s a weird phrase—have a similar problem. They have someone they could ask to take a picture, if the someone is around and amenable.

Some selfies are simply pride or excitement in how one is looking in the moment. New haircut, good-looking outfit, fun jewelry, silliness for a group event (school, work, whatever), new glasses. Why not show it off?

All of the trans people I know shared selfies, either during their transition or once they felt safe enough to do so. This ties in to the “pride or excitement” piece above, but I think it deserves its own mention because it’s much higher stakes.

And of course, selfies are taken to try to make it look like life is amazing when it’s not.

I know a lot of people are struggling (I am certainly one of those people sometimes) and post stories or photos or videos of “wins”—things that are going well, or are funny, or any other positive attribute. No indication anywhere that life is hard. It helps highlight the good.

(The problem with that, of course, is that no one can help if no one knows there’s an issue. But that’s another topic for another day.)

I don’t consider that Fakebooking. Sometimes the validation you get from sharing a bit of happiness gets you through the next hour. Sometimes you want a space where you can ignore the mess of real life and just live in the good stuff. Whatever the reason, it happens, and it makes sense to me.

People who take pictures in their yard to make it look like they’re at the beach? Or who otherwise straight up lie about where they are or what they’re doing? I don’t have a lot of patience for that. But don’t tear down all selfies because of those few.

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