Can we discuss the selfie troll dad?

(43 Posts)
Velvetdarkness Sat 19-Nov-16 22:50:48

I've seen this guy before and tbh I thought it was funny as I saw it being a comment and mockery of the whole selfie Instagram culture.

Now it's been posted on a FB group I'm on and the (mostly student) women on there are up in arms about his misogyny.

So. Is it?

His daughter is fine with it btw.

Personally I think these types of poses buy into and support the patriarchy and so I'm not very up for defending them but I wonder if I'm missing something and ought not to find it funny?

You're all very knowledgeable so here I am to discuss and learn.

Link: http://www.boredpanda.com/dad-recreates-daughter-selfie-cassie-martin-chris-martin-part2/

ittooshallpass Sat 19-Nov-16 23:41:01

I thought they were funny too.

Maybe the anger is out of embarrassment? Perhaps they've just realised how ridiculous they all look? I hope to god my DD never gets into posting selfies.

I don't have a problem with troll dad. I think he's done a really good job in getting the message out there that selfies aren't a great idea.

M0stlyHet Sun 20-Nov-16 09:03:22

When Jim Hines does this to take the piss out of sexist book covers it's funny, and makes a serious social point in a witty way.

In stark contrast, this dad, by singling out his daughter in particular, is, I think, engaging in a form of online bullying. I doubt his motives are exposing the way women internalise misogyny and copy the tropes of a sexist media. I think it's far more about him trying to control what his daughter does online by shaming her, because he is uncomfortable about the pictures she posts. If I was his daughter, I'd be going no-contact.

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 09:43:23

He's a bully. One photo maaaaybe ... or many in private (sent to her only, and in jest).... but many and publicly? No way (if that's how it happened).

Velvetdarkness Sun 20-Nov-16 09:53:22

His daughter set up his account and actively encourages him apparently.
It's good to get different views on this.
I agree that ideally he wouldn't have just picked on her but as she supports it I wonder if that's better than copying people he doesn't know?

Chemistria Sun 20-Nov-16 09:54:32

i think it's funny , and I also read she enourages him and uses his page to promote her own instagram page

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 09:56:47

Well if she approves then the joke is on him smile

LuluLovesFruitcakes Sun 20-Nov-16 10:10:58

M0stlyHet and YetAnother I completely agree with the both of you. On the face of it, maybe one picture would be taking the piss. But picture after picture after picture posted online for all the world to see is tantamount to bullying.
And it smacks of "putting her in her place" to me tbph.

For me it entirely depends why this girl feels the need to post selfies - is it because she feels empowered and recognising and embracing her own beauty, is it to highlight sexism, or is it because she's so conditioned by a patriarchal culture and insecure in herself that she thinks she's only pretty if someone else (ie people online) reinforces that for her?

Thinking deeper into it, if it's the latter, could the dad be doing it to highlight how stupid and ridiculous a patriarchal society is and how sexist the world is - much the same as Jim Hines does?
hmm

IAmAmy Sun 20-Nov-16 11:11:46

I find this pretty unpleasant. I suppose in a way I'm glad the daughter doesn't have an issue with it, as it means it's not upsetting her, but the message it's sending is a negative one and quite shaming. As has been said maybe if he did one as a joke just sent to her it could be funny.

ittooshallpass what do you mean "selfies aren't a great idea"? I don't see why the daughter in question shouldn't be posting selfies nor anything wrong with what she's doing. Why would you not want your daughter posting selfies? I think this is something people look down on as they see it as something mainly done by teenage girls (even though I see boys and adults doing it too). Not saying you do but I don't understand why you think they're a bad idea.

I can see issues with selfies if particularly girls feel we need to post them to be seen as attractive enough or to validate ourselves as being what society expects of us, worth being looks, but if they're being posted out of choice and to express confidence I can't see an issue, shaming girls for it is far more damaging.

Seachangeshell Sun 20-Nov-16 11:19:26

I think you got it just right with your final paragraph Amy. And most teenagers are not that confident really, even if they want people to think they are.

growapear Sun 20-Nov-16 11:29:27

It seems like nothing other than a laugh between him and his daughter which they shared publicly.

nor anything wrong with what she's doing.

Nothing particularly wrong, but as a feminist, I'm surprised you would say there is nothing wrong with what amounts to extreme vanity and a desperation or at least strong desire to have your looks approved. As you know I would not call myself a feminist, but even I can see the dangers of this whole selfie/instagram culture.

IAmAmy Sun 20-Nov-16 11:37:05

Seachangeshell confidence in terms of looks and our bodies is definitely an issue for teenage girls. I'm not much of a selfie taker myself but unsurprisingly know girls who post them regularly, they're not doing it for the approval of boys, they're doing it for friends and because they want to. Though again I understand this is within the context of a society which values us primarily for our looks so it isn't as simple as that. I'm just uncomfortable with girls being judged for posting selfies, like the girl here whose father is mocking hers, it seems like they're being deemed sexualised or for male attention just because girls are posting them. Which to me suggests in itself society views girls and women in this way primarily, sexualising something not intended to be sexual (she's just posting what she'd probably see as fun, posed photos).

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 20-Nov-16 11:47:39

Much of what goes on in the internet and social media is a mystery (irrelevance) to me but to me this looks like a calculated effort by both of them to be an (15 minute) Internet sensation.

When these things happen organically and genuinely they can be funny, moving , even inspiring. This just looks cynical and calculated.

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 11:51:34

Not saying you do but I don't understand why you think they're a bad idea

Honestly, for me it's a generational thing, I think. I just don't understand it. See, I was born in the era when having a camera was a big thing and film and processing cost so much you rarely took pictures. Hell, I remember the advent of colour film! But then, I don't do any social media and nor does my DP. We are the ones you see in restaurants laughing as others take photos of their meals.

if it is a joke between them (rather than him shaming her) then I'd be leading him on a merry dance ...

Seachangeshell Sun 20-Nov-16 11:52:14

I agree with a lot of what you say Amy. Perhaps they aren't doing it for the approval of boys, but they do it to get the approval of their friends. I'm just glad social media wasn't around when I was a teenager. I wasn't too cute when I was and wasn't in the cool crowd at all! Teenage girls must feel even more insecure about their looks than we did. This obsession with the way they look is much worse nowadays.
Aside from that isn't it just an immense waste of time taking these kind of selfies. Hours to get the make up just right, practise posing in front of the mirror, messing about with filters and then checking how many likes she gets on Facebook. So that she can feel good about herself if she gets loads of likes or shit if she doesn't. She could be wasting time doing other stuff like, I dunno, reading.

IAmAmy Sun 20-Nov-16 12:00:02

Spartacus while it is a generational thing it's certainly not all my age who do this kind of thing - I've barely taken any selfies and am too desperate to eat to take photos of food I order grin I'm certainly not the only one of my age who doesn't either. I do social media but more to chat with people I know and out of habit.

I think this instance is a joke between them from what I can tell (and actually as Lass says I did think when I first saw this that gaining followers on Instagram/getting coverage could have been in mind) but still sits uncomfortably with me. To an extent it's shaming particularly teenage girls for posting selfies of this kind without really looking into why many may post them (I don't think most of them are even "sexy" anyway unless girls are viewed as trying to be "sexy" as default). Yes, a boy or man in some of those poses is seen as ridiculous, but then focus should be on why that is and what it says about how girls are viewed, I think.

IAmAmy Sun 20-Nov-16 12:08:46

Seachangeshell true but I think most teenagers probably want the approval of friends. It's not something I specifically think about but I suppose if asked I'd say I wanted approval from friends, though as we're close I don't think of it in those terms. There is a lot of insecurity about our looks and I'm far from immune from it, I feel almost guilty for it but it's difficult to avoid. On the whole though I've reached a position where I'm generally happy with myself and feel confident, and can keep social media at relative arms length (I think). The obsession with looks says a lot about how early we realise this is how we're primarily judged and valued. I'm also definitely not in any cool crowd but luckily at my school we all get on pretty well grin

In terms of selfies as I said it's not something I do but am struggling to find the balance between discussing why so many girls feel the need to take them and not judging or shaming, especially when many girls don't do it for boys.

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 12:12:57

To an extent it's shaming particularly teenage girls for posting selfies of this kind without really looking into why many may post them (I don't think most of them are even "sexy" anyway unless girls are viewed as trying to be "sexy" as default). Yes, a boy or man in some of those poses is seen as ridiculous, but then focus should be on why that is and what it says about how girls are viewed, I think.

I think this can be counterpoised with this

I'm not much of a selfie taker myself but unsurprisingly know girls who post them regularly, they're not doing it for the approval of boys, they're doing it for friends and because they want to. Though again I understand this is within the context of a society which values us primarily for our looks so it isn't as simple as that.

How are girls viewed and how does this tally with how they view themselves and represent themselves?

That's all about social structure and individual agency or free will and why girls do what they do and what the overt or covert penalties are for conforming or not conforming and how this shapes behaviour.

I agree that it is not simplistically generational either, although when I work with young people (mainly girls) and they find out I do not do social media they are both horrified and inspired. I find that many would like to opt out of social media, but find the penalties of ostracisation too high.

Miffer Sun 20-Nov-16 12:15:52

Well I thought it was funny. I can't see how I can reach any further conclusion without knowing how the daughter feels about it.

If I had to guess what happened I would say - Dad did one for a joke, it got daughter more hits, she engaged with it.

IAmAmy Sun 20-Nov-16 12:23:56

Spartacus I agree, it's quite complex and I'm not completely sure what I think! It's balancing not shaming girls for posting selfies with commenting on how girls are viewed potentially leading to the preponderance of selfies with girls my age. I know some of my friends who post regular selfies aren't doing it for boys at all, but like that we comment positively on them, most are feminists who value themselves for far more than their looks. One of them even discussed with me once her own confusion on it, saying she posted them to express her confidence but then felt almost guilty if boys commented on them positively, worrying she was fuelling a culture where girls are judged on looks. But then it's also important not to assume everything a girl does is for male approval or to be "sexy".

I can understand wanting to opt out of social media, sometimes I've thought it'd be nice though it is quite difficult to as stupid as that may sound. I just try to use it as a background to life rather than something central to it!

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 12:38:31

But then there is this

finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-%E2%80%9Cmale-gaze%E2%80%9D/

(I mean arguably).

I wonder how many selfies are taken in the context of 'the male gaze', where even though the intended audience is not male, we still see ourselves through the eyes of men. Do we kid ourselves that we dress up / take selfies / wear make-up / walk through our lives 'for ourselves' when in fact our very subjectivity is coloured by how men see us?

YetAnotherSpartacus Sun 20-Nov-16 12:50:51

Actually, here's the quote I was looking for from John Berger, "Ways of Seeing (from the bottom of the article)"

Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves.

[Berger, John. (1972): Ways of Seeing, p. 42]

Velvetdarkness Sun 20-Nov-16 13:36:48

I think that's it for me. They're almost definitely done through the lens of the male gaze and that's what makes me uncomfortable with the whole culture of it.
I mean, I post selfies but they're not in sexy poses or with a duck face. It's the whole posed sexy element of them I find problematic.

WomanWithAltitude Sun 20-Nov-16 13:50:51

I can see issues with selfies if particularly girls feel we need to post them to be seen as attractive enough or to validate ourselves as being what society expects of us

This is the problem. Selfies themselves aren't an issue. But 'sexy selfies' (of which there are a few varieties in that link) are rarely posted from a position of confidence and power, and this is particularly the case when very young women are posting them.

Just look at the poses she chooses - for example, in the first one she has deliberately chosen to use a vacant, stupid looking facial expression. Because dumb = sexy. That's not an expression of confidence is it?

As for her dad, if he was aiming this at sexy selfies in general, as a statement about how gendered and often misogynist the poses are, I'd be okay with that. But directing it at his daughter doesn't feel right. It's too personal, and comes across as very negative.

Datun Sun 20-Nov-16 13:51:24

Funnily enough, I had this discussion with my son last week. He rarely posts because he can't be arsed to faff about with his hair and make myself look as good as he can. And this is where he saw the problem.

A lot of his friends who are girls post selfies after having done full make up, hair, clothes, etc. Then delete 99% of the photos and pick the best one. And then finally post it. I agree, it's not necessarily to invite male comments, but is nonetheless fairly image obsessed.

I suspect this dad got fed up with trying to get in the bathroom for a shave and gently took the piss. It's a testament to the girl that she jumped on the joke.

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