Warning: this post has a lot of pictures. Some of them might fall into the "embarrassing" category, which of course I don't mind. But for my lucky friends who are unknowingly making appearances, sorry (not sorry).
You'll quickly see that I've always been one of those annoying girls who takes pictures whenever possible. I hate to stereotype myself, but it's true. I can't help wanting to capture every moment, which is why my favorite pictures are always the candids.
This brings me to my main question that I've been thinking about a lot lately. When did the hand on the hip/ knee pop combo become the photo posing norm?
You know what I'm talking about. The pose that's supposed to make your legs and arms, or maybe your whole figure, look skinnier. I know I'm as guilty as the next person, believe me -- I went through AT LEAST a 2 year span where I popped my elbow for every picture (which you'll get to laugh at below). Somehow I avoided elbowing someone in the face, and I never dislocated my shoulder.
Although I do my fair share of posing, I didn't even think about how I presented myself in photos when I was a kid. That didn't come until later into the teenage/ college years when I was finally aware that society wanted us to be perfect and skinny for everything.
So can somebody please tell me why I keep seeing pictures of 10-year-olds, and probably younger, popping their knees and bending their arms in pictures? I actually find it alarming. Why aren't they playing in the dirt, smiling up at the camera? Or if they're playing dress up, why aren't they making funny faces instead of posing like mini supermodels? I don't get it.
Here are some of my childhood "poses." And some of these are way past childhood, meaning I'm either old or I've been behind the times.
Obviously without the knee pop and hand on the hip combo, we run into a major problem:
Some of the pictures look really awkward. What are you supposed to do with your hands? That Homecoming dance picture is horrendous. I almost wish we had thought about how we were standing like the rest of the 10-year-old girl population...
According to my brief research and this nice little anthropological study, celebrities on the red carpet didn't start excessively posing with their hands on their hips until at least 2006. Clearly I was a bit behind the times -- it doesn't look like my friends and I started awkwardly attempting to mimic this pose until 2009+.
Okay, so thanks to celebrities, this pose solves the problem of looking awkward. Now everyone has something to do with their hands. Yay!
But then I think about it again. Do we really look that cool?
We're on a HIKE in the one picture, and we still thought it was normal to pop our knees and put our hands on our hips. Why do we have to look skinny when we're hiking? I guarantee we didn't think of it that way, though. And that's what I think the real issue is.
It's become so common that we don't even think about why we're posing like this. Everyone else does it, it's supposed to make us look good... so we do it. And then the 10-year-olds do it, too. It's making everyone mentally brainwashed into needing to look skinny 24/7 and follow celebrity trends.
I'm not saying I don't like some of the pictures when I've posed like this. Some of them are cute; they make my friends and I look great! I'll admit, I've become excited when my arm or leg looks skinny in a picture. I'm brainwashed like the rest of the population.
So I'm going to stop. I don't mean I'm going to stop posing like this altogether (it would never be that easy), but I'm going to stop mindlessly doing it. I shouldn't have to subconsciously obsess over my self image because society tells us we look better at a certain angle. And I definitely don't want to push that idea into 10-year-old girls' brains even further. I'm not a parent, so maybe I'm wrong. But it just doesn't seem right or authentic to childhood, in my opinion.
I know I didn't come to any drastic conclusions, but I just needed to get it out there. I'm sick of it, and after looking at the pictures where I had my hand placed oh so elegantly on my hip, it reminds me why candids are my favorite in the first place.
While we may never fully get away from the subtle knee pop, lovable, unforced pictures will always be the most fun in my book:
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!