In order for feminists to gain the authority to speak the discourse of society, the “patriarchal structure” of it must be subverted says, Liz Lane. So feminists X+1, that is we speak outside of “the expected social codes” with X being the discourse and 1 being the tapestry and the result is that we achieve the same as our male counterparts, but we must expend more energy to do so (goodness knows weaving an entire tapestry is harder on the fingers than typing up an article.) This extra energy may seem inconsequential in bits, but its “omnipresence” in the online world becomes an invisible energy – a radio wave – that as it grows builds a power that has the power to mold ideology. Attacks can only be “hurled at an assumed body” for so long. The body, as a physical signifier of difference, is an easy target, but the attacks themselves will become invalid as feminist rhetoric proves not only that it can be heard, but it has a voice all its own that is not beholden to Plato or Socrates – that cannot be refuted simply because it is feminine; its truth comes from power, something even Plato or Socrates could not ignore. The “central rhetorical tactics” of hashtags possess a power that transcends identity. There is a degree of human commonality in the condensation of thought to 140 characters that cuts through all the bullshit by smashing the restrictions of grammar and classical rhetoric, releasing simple truths.
The same is being done with the selfie. By eliminating the cultural norms around portraits of the self, people are constructing a version of themselves that is less tainted by broad cultural norms. They are self-discovery and the communication of that self-discovery. Selfies allow us to be seen as we want to be seen, not as dictated by the dominant hegemony. Being shamed into hiding our versions of our own beautiful selves becomes as refutable as the idea that these images take up too much space, that space is only defined by the illusionary values of those in power, and the more of that space we fill with the smashed restrictions self-image, the more space we know is out there. John Adams said this of human nature:
…there is a key to the human heart; to the history of human life and manners; and to the rise and fall of empires. To feel ourselves unheeded, chills the most pleasing hope, damps the most fond desire, checks the most agreeable wish, [and] disappoints the most ardent expectations…
So just as when the man in the carriage tells the beggar his funds would go much further if he were to sell or kill his dog, you should respond to the shamer telling you to stop taking your own picture that when no one else loves you, you can still love yourself like the homeless man’s mastiff loves him – unconditionally, without judgement. Everyone who “posts a selfie” is “getting something out of it”, recognition and in a world where dominant forces try to ignore you, you can fight back, subversively with self-recognition to other self-recognizers… and revel in it.