Our Founder Elizabeth Brunner Answers Your Questions
Q: Dear Elizabeth, I really hate seeing myself in photos. I know this is “my problem,” but my tweens are beginning to notice that I cringe when they point a camera toward me. Thoughts to model a good body image when I’m not feeling it.
Dear Camera Shy,
I understand this dilemma completely! I’m usually pretty camera shy too and would rather be behind the camera than in front of it. Since launching StereoType, however, I’ve had to learn to step in front of the camera and share a different side of myself. It’s been a work in progress to get comfortable with it. I think we can all be overly critical of how we look, especially in this day and age of photo filters that can trick us all into thinking we have to look “perfect” to make any photo worthy of keeping, sharing or posting.
Instead of focusing on how you look when you see yourself in a photo, focus on how you were feeling. And the same goes for when you look through photos of yourself with your kids. Instead of always saying, you look nice or you look pretty, think about compliments that aren’t focused on appearance: you look like you were having so much fun! Or you look confident! And you can learn to apply those compliments to the photos you see of yourself, even the ones that might not be saved as your favorites.The words you use to describe yourself are what your kids are hearing. They are not seeing the weird shirt you chose to wear that day or the grimace you see on your face. They are seeing you hug your partner tightly or you smiling widely while watching your kids jump off the high dive.
Even though your initial instinct might be to hide when the camera comes out. One way to help get over that “cringe” you feel when a camera is pointed at you is to start taking selfies. You don’t have to share them, you can just take a lot of pics of yourself when you’re feeling good and look at them with a gentle objective eye, and focus on what you do like about yourself in the photos.
Selfies can give you that control and that editorial eye to remind you of everything you do like about yourself. Once you have a handful of photos you like, start taking selfies with your kids. Do it on your watch and show your kids and tweens a fun side by making silly faces and getting a little goofy while also snapping a pic or two that is more polished. After some practice in front of the camera — and with your kids — you’ll start to realize that being in front of the camera isn’t too terrible. Bonus! You’ll have lots of great pics with your kids that you will always cherish and they will too. Happy picture taking!
Have a question about exploring identity, breaking stereotypes, navigating the gendered-clothing aisles, or anything else? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and our founder, Elizabeth Brunner, will do her best to answer.