In this week’s edition of People Banning Things Just Because They Feel Like It, one brave woman has declared that women need to “stop posing like chickens.”
Does she mean like this?
She doesn't mean like that. She just wants women to stop putting their hand on their hip while posing for photos.
According to Catherine Q. O’Neill at Allure, popping out your arm during a photo op is a manifestation of our increasing insecurity due to social media:
I can't remember the last time my friends and I took a group photo without adjusting our hair, switching positions so we could get our "good sides," sucking in, checking the lighting, or asking someone to take a vertical shot. (It's more flattering, duh.)
But if there's one thing we do that is truly offensive, it's the Chicken Wing. Get a group of 20-something women together and one (if not all) will pop their arms out like poultry. The idea is that putting your hand on your hip will make your arm look skinnier and your waist look smaller.
The idea is that I’ll put my arm wherever I want to, ma’am. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting one’s arm to looked smushed in a photo.
And the phrase “truly offensive” seems like a bit of a stretch. Dead baby jokes are truly offensive. Putting your hand on your hip is something that no one has ever been offended by until you, just now.
I understand the “spirit” of the article. Catherine just wants us to stop being so self-conscious and enjoy experiences for what they are. Instead of treating every party like a photo op, treat it like a party: an event where you go to have a good time with friends and drink alcohol that someone else paid for. But I think I can multitask this thing; I can have a genuinely good time and I can make my arm a little more toned in pictures by popping a little chicken wing. One does not preclude the other.
And let’s be real: I like flattering pictures of myself. In a world where everyone's photo is being taken continuously, I like to have a little control over the outcome. For every beautifully taken candid photo of someone, there are a hundred photos of that same person mid-chew with one eye closed. If you tag me in a photo that resembles the latter, I’m going to un-tag myself. Not because the offending photo is actively convincing me that I’m ugly and ruining my fragile sense of self-worth, but because I am allowed to edit my online profiles however I see fit.
I’m the only person who gets to have the final say on my “image,” and that includes posing however I see fit. I may even do duck face, just to spite everyone.
Catherine goes on to say that quitting her chicken arm habit cold turkey has resulted in higher quality photos:
Recently, the same friend and I took a picture without posing. It was just us laughing and smiling and looking completely goofy (like ourselves). And you know what? It's now framed in my room.
Though I find it a little strange that the only photo included in the article is of the chicken arm variety, I’ll agree that un-posed photos have a more emotional impact on me. Out of all the photos that were taken at my wedding, some of my favorites are the pictures that I didn’t know were being taken. Those were great unaffected moments that I will always treasure.
But some of those posed photos were pretty awesome too. There is no way the following would have happened on its own. Someone had to throw my veil up in the air and run away real fast. AND I LOVE IT.
But back to the pose at hand. Maybe I’m just being sensitive because I love chickens. I don’t think chickens are the worst thing one can look like. I have a whole calendar of chickens and I find looking at their fluffy little bodies calms me and makes me smile.
But Catherine, if you truly plan to lead the crusade against women looking like they are “about to lay three eggs,” may I suggest you start with the sorority squat? I think it fits that description a little better.
On second thought, scratch that. Just quit telling people how to pose in their photos. If you wish for your hand to never again grace your hip, that’s fine. Go forth and attend each and every social function and pose for group photos without adjusting your hair, the lighting, or your arm.
I’ll just be over here, doing this.