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Selfies are the new 'bra burning' — not a sign of vanity

Julia Horniacek is an independent freelance writer reporting beauty and fashion for SheKnows and Bustle.com, addicted to exercise, coffee and making an attempt to get outside her comfort zone.

Why selfies are healthy and all women should be taking them instead of judging them

The day I purchased the iPhone 4S was the day I downloaded Instagram. My first of now 870 snapshots was a dorm room selfie, introducing my face — and messy bun skills — to the pixelated world, captured by my camera phone. Thus developed my infatuation with self-photography.

I was snapping selfies before Insta-culture coined the term. Back in the day, these were called "Myspace Photos," which now continue to rot somewhere out in cyberspace as an unfortunate documentation of the unfiltered preteen years.

Unlike those gems, the art of the selfie invites women to hold complete power over their self-image. By playing with editing tools and experimenting to find the perfect angle, selfies give us full control over how others see us, but more importantly, how we see ourselves.

More: Psychiatrists now consider selfie addiction a mental illness

In an article titled "Why Selfies Are Good for Girls," Glynnis MacNicol of Elle.com makes an excellent argument in favor of the female selfie culture.

"With each new angle snapped, each new idea of ourself recorded, filtered, captioned, we are presented with a new way to be, a new starring role to play, and a new way to see ourselves," MacNicol states. "Selfieing may be the greatest visual feminist act since the famous bra burners of the '70s unsnapped and lit up."

If you were to take a browse through your friends' Facebook and Instagram accounts, you are more than likely to find them snapping a selfie on the days they look their best, snag that promotion or travel to a new place. A collage of selfies does not symbolize vanity. Selfies are like an individual's highlight reel. They are a dual representation of who we are and who we want to be.

More: Uh oh! Our narcissism has been captured by this strangely addictive blog

When discussing her decision to stick to documenting her vacation in France via selfie, MacNicol admits, "Like nearly anything having to do with women casting themselves in the starring role of their own lives, [the selfie] is considered distasteful. Even as I snapped away, up there on that picture perfect hillside, I did so somewhat sheepishly, as though I were, in fact, revealing an unfortunate weakness about myself."

Every woman deserves to be the leading lady in her life, and the selfie culture allows women to put themselves first by placing themselves in front of the camera lens instead of losing themselves in a crowded backdrop.

The young woman who stunned in a dress that turned heads all night, the girl at the gym who proudly repped a new weight class, the girl who is loved by her surrounding friends... We snap a selfie to remember the moments we felt confident and alive. So, the purpose of selfies is not to tear people down. They are a sign of women liberating themselves from the background into the center of their own lives.

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