The last theme I want to address in queer online community participation is the act of getting to know oneself through participation online. I want to start by giving you an excerpt from a Tumblr post I reblogged a while back from a beautiful person I won’t name here (for privacy reasons).
“I’ve been watching silently as [my picture] is reblogged over and over, feeling a mix of annoyance and confusion. The funny thing is that the one thing I have not felt during this time is ugly. I keep coming back to the picture trying to understand what there is to mock about it and each time I find nothing. Each time I look, I feel exactly the way I felt when I first posted it, cute. That is a victory for me because in the not too distant past, I would have been devastated by this” (Anonymous Tumblr post).
The person who wrote this post uploaded a picture of themselves on a particularly cute-feeling day and was subjected to ridicule by other users on Tumblr. I have to admit, I get upset if I post a picture and no one bothers to like it, so I have endless respect for the bravery and tough-skin of this particular person. After seeing this, another group within the blog community took up that same photo and praised this person for their confidence, beauty, and unabashed self-love. Self-love is not something we often talk about in a positive context. How much time should we really dedicate to getting to know ourselves and understanding our own personalities, appearances, and desires?
Way back in 1939, Philosopher Eric Fromm wrote:
“Modern culture is pervaded by a taboo on selfishness. It teaches that to be selfish is sinful, and to love others is virtuous” (Fromm 1).
The question I present to you, my dear blog-istas, is this: If we love ourselves, does it increase our ability to love others? If we enjoy our our own presence and know the depths of our own identities, what is the affect on the people we hold dear? Let me know if you figure that out.
Fromm, Eric. “Selfishness and Self-love.” Psychiatry: Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Process 2 (1939): 507-23. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <http://erich-fromm.de/biophil/en/images/stories/pdf-Dateien/1939b-e.pdf>.