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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Can selfies be used to bully?

Published: Friday, Dec. 13 2013 1:00 p.m. MST

We’ve all done it — snapped a quick pic of ourselves looking our best, hoping for some positive feedback from our Facebook friends or Instagram followers.

The word “selfie” was just declared “Word of the Year” by Oxford Dictionaries and was added to the online Oxford Dictionary in August.

Some selfie’s are cute and some are funny, while others unabashedly scream, “I’m sure looking gorgeous today, don’t you think?”

Truth be told, I’ve never been comfortable taking pictures of myself — serious ones, that is — alone, and posting them on social media. Whenever I see a selfie, I always imagine the person holding his or her phone out in front of them, trying to get the perfect angle, and then spending an additional five minutes coming up with a clever phrase and cool filter.

Have you ever watched someone in the process of snapping a selfie? That’ll put a smile on your face. In fact, it may suddenly prompt you to take a selfie of yourself watching that person taking a selfie of themselves.

But could selfie’s actually be another way of bullying?

There are lots of women who seem to think so.

Recently, there was a huge online outrage over Norwegian fitness blogger Caroline Berg Eriksen, wife of Premier League player Lars-Kristian Eriksen, after she posted a selfie on Instagram just days after giving birth to her baby girl. The picture is of Eriksen in a bikini, proudly displaying completely flat, toned abs and skinny arms and legs with nary an unwanted pound on her post-pregnancy bod except for her newly blossomed bosom.

Eriksen insists she posted the selfie with good intentions.

“I let out the picture because I'm proud of myself and my body for something as tough as a pregnancy/birth, and I think all mothers, regardless of the body shall be,” she said on her Facebook page.

But thousands of shocked and — dare I say, jealous? — women grabbed their keyboards, fingers flying, and gave this gorgeous woman a piece of their mind. Some have called it “wildly provocative,” wondering if she “even belonged to the same species” as “normal” women who maybe carry a couple of extra pounds for a couple of extra … years. (I’m speaking of myself here.)

“Perfect…?” One commenter wrote. “Except for the stretch marks.”

But others have applauded her, saying she did no wrong.

“Fair play to her! If I looked like that 4 days after giving birth I’d walk the streets in my underwear!” one comment read.

Being a fitness blogger, and having a smaller frame and good genes probably all played a role in this woman looking like she never gave birth.

Another health-conscious mom who received negative media attention after posting a picture of her bikini-clad bod is fitness mom Maria Kang.

Kang’s shot was more “attack mode,” I guess you could say. Posing with her three sons, ages 3, 2 and eight months, the caption read, “What’s Your Excuse?”

Kang’s Facebook page was slammed with hateful comments, some even going as far as to say she was a bad mother and that she should spend more time focusing on her kids, instead of her rock-hard abs.

“You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self,” one comment read.

But, like Eriksen, Kang insists her post was not meant to bully other women.

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