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Jen Selter, Jewish Queen of Butt-Selfies

The New York Post ran a story about an unusual Jewish internet sensation — Jen Selter, the Jewish girl from Long Island who has leveraged carefully curated images of her rear end in yoga pants to become a star with a massive following.

Her tale is a perfect example of the good, the silly and the bizarre in selfie culture.

Photo Courtesy of Jen Selter

As none other than James Franco says, “Selfies are tools of communication more than marks of vanity (but yes, they can be a little vain).”

According to the Post:

A seductive post of hers on the photosharing site — most of which are selfies of Selter in skintight gym wear — can easily rack up more than 70,000 likes. “I don’t really post a lot of face pictures,” admits Selter, whose handle is @jenselter. “I mainly do body selfies. Not that I care what people think, but they don’t care. They don’t want to see my face,” she says.

By body, of course, the Post specifically means derriere. In the tradition of “body selfie” icon Kim Kardashian, this princess of Long Island is making a brand out of her booty.

On the one hand, this entire story is rather ridiculous. The Post reports on Selter’s alleged modesty in real life (IRL) — ”“I don’t like being watched,” she says — and juxtaposes that with her viral fame. She won’t go to a public gym, but she doesn’t mind getting 70,000 “likes” online and seems okay with the instant crowd that springs up around her photo shoot with the Post, from cops to Hasidic guys to proposal-wielding bros. And then there’s the very atypical-seeming Jewish mom (or is she in fact typical?) who tells the Post: “I’m very proud of her because this is a girl who didn’t want to go to college…” And oh yeah, the proud previous rhinoplasty and the hundreds of yoga pants.

On the other hand, her story is just a perfect example of how selfie culture can bring fame and fortune to everyday people. And it’s also brought attention to a different body type than might be recognized as beautiful by other traditional outlets, like fashion houses. Remember how Jennifer Lopez was treated like an anomaly or freak? Today, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce and apparently, Jen Selter, are true beauty icons — curves included — and they have all leveraged selfie culture to promote their images as such. I’m all for the celebration of short and curvy Jewish girls, being one myself, and as I’ve written before I’m also trying to see the non-narcissistic side of selfies.

A feminist I admire, Veronica Arreola, has started a #365femnistselfie project to encourage daily positive, affirming and honest selfies among feminists. I’m all behind this project, and I’m sure Jen Selter would be too, no pun intended.

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