This is the day and age of the Selfie Photograph. Gone are the days when a camera was a major purchase for an entire family; and long forgotten are the time when only professional photographers would have a pretentious tripod on which to perch that precious camera. Cameras are now everywhere — in our bags, in our person, pockets, integral features of our little army of handheld gadgetry — Do we have phones with cameras? or are they cameras with a phone feature really? Cameras are so commonplace that everyone has the capability to document their lives every day, many times over. We snap away and post the places we visit, the common or unusual sights along the way, the things we eat, the outfits we tried, the outfits we wore. “OOTD” (a.k.a. “#OOTD, a.k.a. Outfits Of The Day) photos are displayed by stylists, fashionable types, celebrities and trendsetters, — all the way to those irritating trying-hard wannabes who spew fashion advice as if their readership are idiots who know nothing about dressing themselves (pointless — this is the age of the individual expression and quirks). And who needs a tripod when you can extend your arms to take that self-portrait, as often as you like and can?
Byproduct of this love affair with the camera is the hand-on-hip (HOH) pose. It has been called the “chicken wing” or the “tea pot”. This postural affliction that affects women and girls of every age. A world-wide phenomenon of sorts, strangely enough. Anytime a camera is trained to take a shot, The Pose is assumed almost instinctively –arm crooked at the elbow to form a small diamond between arm and oblique (chicken wing or teapot handle up). Needless to say that pose also entails arching one’s back (upwards, and sidewards) to cut and define a clear angle on the waist. This, I must say, is not a look I really enjoy. The said “pose”, once the monopoly of fashion models and starlets, has since trickled down to Reality TV stars, the famous-for-being-famous, and now it is EVERYWHERE. Just look through the Newsfeed of your FaceBook page. Or possibly, take a look at your own photos.
Per se, I have nothing against The Pose. I just don’t think it is an entirely flattering stance or look to affect, at any age:
1. The pose doesn’t look good on little girls or kids. It’s creepy. It’s Jon Bennet Ramsey-ish. It’s just doesn’t look right. Kids should enjoy their childhood and days of play. Save the attempts to look saucy or beauty pageants for much later, should they wish.
2. The pose doesn’t look good on college kids and younger adult women either, especially if they do it ALL THE TIME. Diane Von Furstenberg once tweeted the advice that the hands on hip look makes one look like a starlet, and not the star. I couldn’t agree with her more. The pose just smacks of trying too hard (to be what? Glamourous? Sexy? Cool? Real Housewives of Hollywood-ish? or just simply “trying too hard”?).
3. The pose is not a very professional look –unless you’re a fashion model, Paris Hilton, part of a girl band or a reality TV star. Imagine seeing a shot of your lawyer or your surgeon with that pose all the time. Comfortable with that? I thought not.
4. The pose is not a very good look for women of a more mature vintage (ha!), either. I have seen many of that going around. It can be an amusing look, but let’s face it, it’s not exactly elegant.
Perhaps it is because I think this way that I have never taken to affecting this pose. In most of my shots, one or both my hands are either in my pocket(s), folded in front of me, or joined behind my back. Awkward poses of the unsure? Perhaps. But that’s how I like it, eversince.