How Self Deprecation and Boudoir Photo Sessions Aren’t a Good Mix!

End self deprecation! Minimizing yourself and boudoir photo sessions are not a good mix!

We’ve all been there, used self-deprecation as a handy tool to diffuse tension and add humour to a situation. It usually helps us feel more comfortable in an awkward situation.

End self deprecation! How self deprecation and boudoir photo sessions are not a good mix.

Self Deprecation Examples

How’s this for an example that we’ve all likely experienced: you reply to a compliment about your outfit with a knee-jerk, negative response. Perhaps a quip about looking a bit dishevelled or an eye-rolling admission of the coffee stain near the hem? 

And just in case you’re not fully clear on what self deprecation is, here’s the definition per Wikipedia:

Self deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, or disparaging oneself, or being excessively modest. It can be used in humor and tension release.

So here’s another example. Have you been introduced to a stranger at a party and immediately downplayed your job title; making out that you were either incredibly lucky to have nabbed the position or have no idea what you’re doing half the time, when, in fact, you worked your butt off to get a promotion and spent several evenings a week working late in order to finish projects to impress your boss? 

Self deprecation is often used in times of discomfort, or even to lighten the mood with a dash of humour. It can deflect attention, lowers expectations, weaken hierarchies, and, when used insincerely, reassures and inflates the ego of the conceited.

But, in putting down our talents, appearance and personality, could we be permanently impacting our self-esteem and reputation? At a certain point, if you call yourself ‘stupid’ enough times, you’ll start to believe it and so will other people. My mom always said, ‘What you speak about, you bring about’. Hmmm….

A bit of self-ridicule is healthy if you’re confident enough to really take it as a joke. It’s surely better than blind, pigheaded narcissism. Of that, I am sure we can all agree! I can admit to using self deprecation to approach things about myself that I know I find difficult (like my belly or bat winged arms!), but after I say these things, even in a joking manner about myself, I am left questioning why I even did that? Why did I put myself down, and or, play myself down just for a dose of humour?

Minimizing Yourself In The Studio

In my studio I usually hear at least one ‘please don’t photograph my mama rolls’ or ‘my nose makes Pinocchio jealous, can you photoshop that shit?!” before the shoot begins. It’s a tough one because most of us have something about our body that we don’t love, but in highlighting our insecurities, putting down our talents, and striving for the laugh, instead of congratulation, could we not just be cementing a negative narrative about ourselves? 

Now this is a tough one to realize, but it’s true, so I really need to share it with you. You’re about to have your boudoir photo session and expose all. Or some, anyway. So we need to be careful with the self deprecation. Why?

The dark side of self-deprecation can come out in your final images. If, you’re not careful.  So let’s help each other to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Unlike the days when we’d blindly accepted our parents’ compliments about being the smartest, prettiest and most hard working of children, in our adolescence, our self-worth gradually starts to fluctuate, depending on our most recent successes or failures, compliments or insults. We begin to find it hard to tread the middle ground between self-promotion and self-deprecation, wanting to seem confident without coming across as an insufferable know-it-all.

Clinical psychologist, Ros Taylor, explains that for the majority of women: ‘We tend to go in the opposite direction and discredit ourselves.”

How sad is that?!

How self deprecation and boudoir photo sessions are not a good mix.

An Alternative to Self Deprecation

So instead, let’s all do our best to accept who we are. ALL of us. Inside and out. When given a compliment, simply accept it with a ‘thank you’. When asked about our work, regardless of what you do or how much money you make, it doesn’t matter. You can simply reply with the truth, and proudly. As unique individuals we all have things to contribute and we all matter. Am I right?!

When thinking about your upcoming boudoir photo session, think about the millions of incredible things that make you, YOU!

I know that might not be easy for all of us, but we really are fantastic! When you arrive at my studio and are filled with the positives that you love about yourself, this confidence will absolutely show up in your photos. Yes, you’ll likely be nervous to start. Most women are. But wouldn’t you rather have ‘I’m amazing’ brimming in your photos, rather than ‘oh yeah, I’m a hot mess’?! That is of course unless you want to fully express what it is like to be a hot mess, as that could be empowering in and of itself?! 

These internal thoughts make all the difference in the studio, in your images and in how you present yourself as you walk through life. Find ways to regularly tell yourself all the wonderful things you know about yourself. For example, write them on post-its on your bathroom mirror. Say affirmations out loud to yourself as you’re driving to work. Journal each morning two or three newly found things you love about yourself. Add more and more to the list. I mean why not? 

It’s time to boldly embrace you. Love yourself and your life. It’s a short one, so with gratitude, increase your self love, your self esteem and inner happiness. You’ve already done enough self deprecation. Leave that in the past.

With love,
Michele

Images shared with permission.

Michele Mateus is a Vancouver Boudoir & Portrait Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC. Hair & Makeup By Jenny Valla.

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