Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Is Posting Pictures Vanity?

A reader of my blog has recently commented that they feel it is vain to post pictures on Facebook.

I found it to be a thought-provoking comment.

Here's the comment, which was written in response to my March 12, 2012 blog entry Posting Pictures Can Be Perilous. 

"this depends on how you look at it i dont have the guts to post a pic because i think i am not vain enough to do so face book is all about being vain so all i have to say is good luck with that".

My response was this: 

I don't see Facebook as being all about being vain. For me, working from home, and being busy with the needs of a large family, I have little chance to keep in touch with the outside world, including many family members and friends who live far away. I so appreciate it when they put up photos to keep me apprised of a piece of their lives. Vanity has nothing to do with it when I share pictures. In fact, some of the photos of myself I've shared, I've done so with a cringe, knowing it isn't one of the best ones I could take, but knowing how much I appreciate it when others post photos, I do unto others, ya know? :) 

And hey, you think Facebook is geared towards vanity, check out some other sites that are even more focused on photos, like Dailybooth, Hot Or Not, and Piczo, to name a few I've experienced personally.

Furthermore, now there are also "GIF" sites, like gifyo, where people can click a button to record a short GIF file (which, in case you don't know, stands for "graphic interchange format", pronounced "jiff", and is basically a moving picture that replays over and over).

Here's a link for my favorite GIF - the Snoopy Dance - which I almost posted here but have removed it because it was distracting me while I wrote, so it might also distract others while they read.

But there I go with my digression...

Back to the topic of posting pictures and vanity.

My love for being in front of and behind cameras was alive and growing even back in the 80s.

Is it really vanity to want to show yourself to others?

Is it vanity to want to capture a photo of something that you'd like to share with others?

Are women being vain by putting on makeup to hide their flaws and enhance their features?

Are men being vain by working out and wearing tight jeans to show off their butts?

Should we all wear burqa-like security blankies and hide behind them?

Are we wrong to crave positive attention and have someone say words to the effect of "you're beautiful"?

Are we not wired to love and be loved?

 (YouTube video here, "Circle Of Friends" by Point Of Grace).

Especially with people of opposing genders, it can be awkward to say you like their pictures, lest it be taken the wrong way, unless it's meant to be the wrong way, which, in some cases, isn't the wrong way at all.

The confusion, though, I think, is a side effect of our Hollywood-ized society where compliments are often taken as "hitting on".

Heck, most of the pictures I post receive little to no comment whatsoever, and if I dwell on it, I can feel pretty sorry for myself, and question why I continue putting more of them up.

But then, see my quote above about "do unto others".

Maybe it is vanity, differing in degree from one person to the next.  Like with opinions, mine may not be the same as yours, shaped by our individual life experiences and knowledge.

I haven't answered anything definitively here, have I?  I guess I really don't know the answers.

What are your answers to these questions? 

With love,

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  1. Personally, I'm even wondering if I should post. The comment from your reader seemed arrogant, judgmental and not at all humble. Humility is the opposite of vanity? I use FB and my blog to keep updated with family far away, I don't care if my pictures are perfect because they sure don't. It may be a sign of vanity if you are posting only those professional type photo shopped photos of yourself on the cover of Glamor magazine :)

    1. I'm glad you posted, Jo. I always appreciate comments, feedback, and opinions. Sounds like you and I are on a similar page as far as our use of FB for keeping loved ones updated.

      And there sure won't be any photoshopped Glamor magazine shots of ME on MY Facebook page, though to those who do have such a thing, hey, my proverbial hat is off to them for their artistic abilities and beauty. :)

  2. The very question of whether this comprises "vanity" seems to start from the position that vanity, in and of itself, is a Bad Thing. I would argue that as with almost everything else, it's all a matter of the proper amounts. A bit of well-tempered vanity can also go by the name "self-worth", and I think most would consider that a Good Thing to have... again, in the proper amounts.

    1. Ah, yes, like Oreo cookies for breakfast. All within balance. :) Thank you for that!

  3. I'm not sure if gender is really an issue with comments made as compliments as much as... whether or not you want THAT attention from THAT individual.

    Sharing online is socializing, vanity is demanding attention and being disappointed if/when you don't get the kind you want. It's as simple as that for me.

    1. As for me personally, I will often NOT post compliments on a male's photos if they don't know me very well, for fear of them taking it the wrong way.

      Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing 'em.

    2. Well that does fit with my comment about compliments not being/recieving wanted attention :P

    3. Frankly, I think if you don't want comments on something, you shouldn't post that something on a public site. And by the same token, you should be prepared for pretty much anything you get in response... and take all of it with a LARGE shaker of salt.

      Facebook gives plenty of options to limit who can view anything you post, including limiting it to groups such as "Close Friends", "Family", etc., right up to "Friends of Friends", and a "Public" option making it visible to anyone.

      If you're the type who's touchy about what some random person might say, it's probably a good idea to reduce an item's visibility to people who you trust won't say anything offensive.

  4. I know this blog is over a year old, but I still want to comment. The comment that person left about it being vanity struck me as stupid. If she sees it as vanity & doesn't like it, she doesn't have see it. Simple as that. I agree with u about having facebook ......... it has nothing to do with vanity. It has to do with keeping in contact with friends & family in other states or even other countries. And I like to see pics.

  5. I agree, Rose. The comment was indeed rude. The guy who said it has posted other comments on various blog entries of mine, some which were so rude, I did not publish them.


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