Can Men Take Selfies?

Sometimes when I am wearing a cool outfit because I am a glamorous New York girl living life in the fast lane, I will take my iPhone over to my full-length mirror and position it and myself just so, and I will do it.

I will take a selfie.

Selfies are fun. Selfies are you at what you deem your finest. In selfies, your perfect outfit looks right all evening, orchestrated by you and preserved on Instagram for posterity. Selfies are The Best You, The Coolest You, appreciating you, nudging others to appreciate you too. Selfies are like the kind of birthday party you can only throw after you turn 38 and have a lot of money. Selfies add to your little collage of digital being—for all your followers know, you have a horse or a boat and is that piece of furniture we sort of see in the corner an Isamu Noguchi coffee table or some shit from Ikea?! Selfies are like being on reality television without having to do the dumb reunion show. You just take it and it’s there and everyone reacts and then you’re done. Maybe no one on the street stopped you to tell you that you look great, but twenty people essentially said as much on the Internet, so whatever!

Selfies are magical. And yet selfies remain the privilege of the fairer sex. (That means women, for those of you who stopped reading for pleasure after eighth grade.) Men are supposed to Instagram Man Stuff. Like, buildings or food or More Songs About Buildings and Food on vinyl. This is because selfies are vain. Men can be vain, yes, but shameless vanity, the kind in which you are caught displaying, or even promoting, remains the exclusive right of women. You could walk in on a woman staring at herself in the mirror, flanked by shelves of a jillion beauty products and it is absolutely acceptable for her to look up lazily and say, “Oh, fancy meeting you here.” But a preening man is a fop, a square, and maybe even a loser. Guys can care about what they look like, but only while they’re putting on their clothing. After that, you’re supposed to forget you look nice. At least until Tommy Ton trots by.

Selfies are the last line in the sand between menswear and womenswear—a line you are smudging egregiously.

Yet as that concern for your appearance has become more acceptable, and for a larger number of men, so the desire for men to take selfies has grown. It started with photos of your shoes as you rode the subway, the perfectly worn grooves of your tight and expensive jeans, maybe the beautiful collar on your shirt. Men’s selfies remain fractured, disassembled, pieces of outfits—Picassos, baby. But women capture the whole outfit. Our selfies are like well-togged reclining nudes, in which a Proenza top functions as the scintillating curve of a hip and Balenciaga boots as the sinewy slope of abdominal flesh.

And I had thought, I truly believed, that no self-respecting man would take a full body shot. But fellas, I’ve seen them: in front of the mirror, clothed beautifully and sometimes not so, your nervous, awkward eyes glancing at your image reflected back in the iPhone in your hand. “#JilSander #Junya #Nike #farmersmarket.”

Selfies are the last line in the sand between menswear and womenswear—a line you are smudging egregiously. You’ve borrowed everything from us in fashion: wild west high octane fashion weeks, blogging, skinny models (and the accompanying body image issues), even skirts. And we’ve mostly been happy to oblige. After all, men had the right to do just about everything first and you have shared nearly all those rights with women at some point, which was pretty chill.

But when everyone is telling us how to look and act and be and all the other stupid lollipops women get to take out of society’s bank lobby, it feels nice to control everything about the way we look and are perceived, if only for a moment, if only in the smallest box, if only through the smallest lens. In great selfies, nothing is inscribed upon the subject that she does not desire.

I know two weeks ago I told you to wear concealer. But for the love of god, men, let us keep our selfies.

Rachel Seville is a writer living in New York who believes in miracles. Read her blog, Pizza Rulez, here and follow her on Twitter here.

  • http://www.bucketsandspadesblog.com/ Matthew Pike

    gees no

  • GEB

    Rachel is this menswear sites best writer. Ironic, isn’t it.

    • Rachel Seville

      How do you know I’m not pulling a Tootsie?

      • GEB

        HA! Touche

    • Lawrence

      She truly is fantastic, isn’t she?

      • GEB

        Trueeee

  • http://kennyp.tumblr.com/ Ken P

    I’m not a fan of articles that try to define what men and women can and cannot do. I can understand what Rachel is saying but when it comes down to it- who gives a fuck. If I want to wear a rick owens skirt and take a full-length picture of myself wearing it- I am going to. I don’t give a fuck if society or even four-pins (which I like a little more open-minded than society) thinks it makes me less-masculine to do so.

    • hand_banana

      I think people consistently misunderstand conversation. Allow me to cater to the pedantry. Rachel isn’t trying to define with men and women can and cannot do. She is positing that she believes men ought not take selfies. She is by no means dictating any kind of rule. She is expressing her opinion. An opinion I share, nonetheless. Well. I don’t think anyone should take selfies…

      • Lawrence

        The “Opinion” tag exists for that very reason.

    • http://kennyp.tumblr.com/ Ken P

      See there’s a difference between “selfies” and #wiwt. Although I too don’t want to see a bunch of dudes duck-facing on my instagram feed, I thoroughly enjoy looking at/critiquing wiwt pictures. I don’t think Rachel makes this seperation and considers them the same thing. To say, We, as men, can participate in WIWT culture is annoying and stupid. Especially when so much of #menswear blogging is dependent on WIWT. NOVH wouldn’t be having sponsored vacations if it weren’t for his rise to fame through “selfies”.

    • Rachel Seville
    • Ghetto Heisman

      I agree. “Do you”. If that includes taking a selfie, so be it.

    • http://www.evilmerino.tumblr.com/ Evil Merino

      “If I want to wear a rick owens skirt and take full-length picture of myself wearing it- I am going to.” I hope you read this in a year and want to chop your hands off for typing it.Take shit just a little less seriously, dear god. The article was a light-hearted opinion piece, chill weirdo.

      • http://kennyp.tumblr.com/ Ken P

        I don’t wear skirts, thats not the point. The point is that this article reinforces the idea of gender stereotypes.

        • hand_banana

          Gender stereotypes are constantly outed as horrendous evils these days and I think a lot of the arguments are good! But the distinction as to why I think about women and men who say, take selfies differently is not because I’m some kind of sexist asshole who just wants to see women put down. For women, taking selfies is an established norm. As it is socially acceptable, women who take selfies are not really making any kind of statements when they do it. I don’t personally agree with selfies of any kind, but at least when girls do it they’re not putting a second-thought to it. It’s just normal. A guy is fully aware that taking selfies is not quite as acceptable for him. So when a guy does it, he is putting himself out there and making a statement that he is taking a selfie. As a deontological philosopher, this difference in intent is pretty damn important to me! It’s the same reason girls get to wear a lot more flamboyant stuff than guys. Yeah, there’s some sort of double-standard at work, but a girl just walks in any store and sees floral blazers and studded jeans and that’s just normal. Nobody’s trying to stand out too much with that stuff. And so there’s less vanity in the intent. For a guy to wear that shit, he is going out and saying, “Look at me, I’m an asshole and I want attention.” So for a guy to take a selfie, there is a different message attached to it. Sure, in some sort of vacuum perhaps all genders and other categorizations will do everything the same, but you know what? Men and women are different. Bottom line though, if some girl is going around flaunting her selfies to people, I’m going to call her an asshole just as fast as I will any guy who posts selfies on Facebook showing off his hypebeast trash in the mirror. Yeah, it’s a double-standard. But let’s not take it and go in the WRONG FUCKING DIRECTION, guys. Instead of everyone selfies, how about no selfies.

          • scot sims

            So you running around in hipster drag or Wall Street drag is not saying “Look at me I’m an asshole and I want attention.”
            All righty.

  • ednebet

    The girl who wrote this is an idiot, sorry. Women should have a monopoly on selfies? Men stole the concept from women? Give me a break.

    • Rachel Seville

      hubba hubba!

    • Themediabull

      I agree with this woman being an idiot, but selfies ARE gay as fuck. Ain´t nobody got time to argue on that.

      • scot sims

        And commenting on a fashion blog is the butchest thing you do?

        You can’t argue nothin’.

  • Candice F

    Selfie yourself into some self esteem men. Go forth…..

  • ZLander

    f*ck that, im a fly ass n*gga, and the world shall know it!!

    • Evan

      so fly you censor yourself? nigga?

      • ZLander

        `”sarcasm” not for the stupid

        • Evan

          you have a terrible grasp of the concept

          • http://theatlas.co/ The Atlas

            this “nigga” just went full retard

  • http://IsthisMenswear.com/ Is this Menswear.com

    Human nature is to want to document one self for personal reflection at a later date. To remember a certain time, a place, a moment. The hunt on the cave wall, the crowning of a king, the victorious general, the purchase of air Jordan’s… This really goes into our human instinct to evaluate ones self. But to also want to share that reflection onto other. Yes some of our current technologies make it far to crude, and instant. Our instinct to capture and share is so ingrained within us – go forth document life, and fuck concealer

  • jeff

    It’s hilarious how some men on here caught a hiss fit off an opinion piece. No one is taking your precious selfies away sweetheart but check your attitude (and your genital area while you’re at it). You sound unbelievable soft. Your grandfather who risked his life in WWII is turning over in his grave dunny.

    Do what you want, selfie and overshare your life away but don’t get online and bitch and moan about it tickerbell. It’s not becoming. Man up.

  • ジョセフ·ホワイト

    You Guys Gotta Stop Getting Into Your Feelings Over A Blog Post I It Is Not And Never Will Be The Move

    • http://theatlas.co/ The Atlas

      WHY DO YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS? DO YOU HAVE OCD?

  • maple

    Apart from Eljah Wood who’s being autoironic and Kanye who’s taking a photo with a women all the other guys are just lame. For me this is the best example that nobody should take selfies. Don’t do it at home, and basically, in any other places too.

  • http://averagemanfitnessandstyle.blogspot.ca/ averagemanfitnessandstyle

    Tyler is the only one allowed to take selfies because that dudes crazy.

    http://www.averagemanfitnessandstyle.com

  • Ghetto Heisman

    I see her side of it, I think, but I think it’s alright for a guy to take a selfie, if it’s showing something to his friends/followers of interest. Depends on the picture I would say. Women selfies tend to focus more on their individual beauty, fashion statement, or other more feminine things.

    Guy selfies, at least mine, or others I’ve seen, tend to highlight more of an object of clothing, status symbol, or highlight something they are proud of. More ego oriented I would say.

    Either way, I feel they definitely should be limited, and there is even a negative side to women selfies not discussed in this article: that being, the recent research around narcissistic tendencies, and various kinds of social media and behaviors (see Forbes). One too many selfies, and that is where I get concerned. Especially, with women, but for men, the fewer the better. :-)

  • Adam

    Girl tells boys not to do something girly, boys get offended and make sulky comments, boys being girly about being told not to be girly… Has the internet killed manliness? Rub your hands together, are they soft? Go outside and reclaim manliness.

  • Trisan

    What a pitiful article, it essentially touts some misogynistic ideals and the some of the comments just highlights it. You’re trying to make selfies seem like some liberating tool for women but it isn’t. It could be but your whole article smashes that. You know why so many women are obsessed with how they look? Because the patriarchy dictates that a woman’s appearance is her only worth. That’s the “privilege” your clutching so tightly to. And then the fact that most of you are mocking men for being girly for taking selfies is also misogynistic and therefore sad. What you’re saying is “eeww girls are airheads, weak, silly and ditzy.” Why should being compared to a girl being an insult? This article is just full of irony because you reveal quite a few things that are misogynistic but it’s like you have first level awareness, you can’t see beyond the statements you make. In conclusion, just stop creating these silly gender roles and let people do what they want.

  • TEENWOOLF4U

    RACHEL AND ESQUIRE ARE KINDRED SPIRITS B http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/selfies-arent-art

  • http://www.cosmosuniversal.com Cosmos Universal

    loooooool how is this chick writing for men?

  • French

    In my opinion, this is total bullshit. Seeing as this is her opinion I’ll respect her for it

  • cliff

    can men take selfies? looking at the countless examples of men taking selfies i feel the title is redundant. And no, unless you want to express to the world that you are both vain and insecure at the same time, then you shouldn’t take a selfie and post it online .

  • Albert
  • Paul

    “Guys can care about what they look like, but only while they’re putting on their clothing. After that, you’re supposed to forget you look nice. At least until Tommy Ton trots by.”
    Aren’t you the girl that just wrote an article promoting the use of make up and other beauty products for men??
    You seem confused.

  • GORMAN

    I appreciate the effort in the writing of this piece, as I usually do with mostly everything @Rsevillet publishes. I thought the Picasso line was good. I like Four Pins because it can be punk from a perspective inside of The Industry.
    Sure, its writers can be real brats too, but that comes with the territory.

    There was a moment in this particular article that made me think it might be touching on something deeper than the conclusion it made suggests. Having seen all of these indicators of an insight into established gender roles, readers were given all but the punchline that they know Seville is more than capable of making. it’s likely that some of the commentators are angry as a result.

    To Seville: You can troll me with a spinning marine mammal too, but a real response to some of these comments means conversation, and this particular conversation goes beyond selfies, and is one that men desperately need to have (and often don’t).

    Keep killing.

  • Tib

    Dudes taking selfies over and over are vain and insecure

  • Lazarus St Jones

    This was such a stupid article thank gracious I read only a few paragraphs. Putting exclusivity to selfies would be like Men putting exclusivity to Pants, or Sneakers, or driving. Nuthin wrong in a Man taking a picture of himself ( as opposed to anyone else, which would be creepy). It shows you’re proud of ur look, clothes, outfit, whatever. As long as they’re not in thongs or lingerie, why should I care?

  • squatty

    four pins, yall suck now

  • Mike

    The concept of a selfie is imo stupid as hell because its a blunt and direct gesture that says “hey im a narcisitic asshole and im not afraid to show it although for the most part i consider myself humble but im gonna show myself off to you because i subconsciously think im better then you even though I wont admit it”. Selfies are for people who dont know how to include themself in a picture and look good. If i want a picture of myself cause I was having a good day Ill take a picture next to a friend because its a sentimental memory i will preserve and i dont look stupid holding my phone trying to find the right pose 200 pictures later. Srsly why do people flood the walls with big ass pictures of themself only for the viewer to be distracted with how dirty your bathroom or bedroom is…thats the only kick i get out of selfies. Girls who do selfies are attention whores who are vain and insecure and only want to show themselves for who they wish they were. Theyre all the same. Attention whores who cake make up on, put on a ridiculous outfit, and get all dolled up and the funny part is i bet most do it just for the picture then go back to their normal boring life lmaoz The whole selfie concept is a negative thing thats only promoting anti socialism and narcissistic ideals in a general sense. Im confident in myself, i know who i am. I dont need a dam selfie or likes for that reassurance. We are all beautiful. Anyway just my 2 cents.

  • Chaz

    OMG – what is this 1971?

    This ‘journalist’ is gender policing.

    Next she’ll be writing how women can’t do math and males who cry are defective.

    Get this attitude stowed. Please. Total yuck.

  • ThomasRankin

    wow just coming across this piece and discussion now. pretty intense stuff but a worthy debate.

    agree there is a clear distinction between the vanity-driven selfie and the self-improvement oriented #wiwt or reddit WAYWT.

    let’s face it. most dudes need help tightening up their style. and they mostly need that feedback from women. so if we want better dressed guys in the world, there has to be a medium of exchange that helps make the world a more dapper place.

    Thomas
    dashhudson.com