“There is no real safety except self-belief", so said Madonna on December 9th 2016 at the Billboard Women in Music ceremony, in a powerful speech that lasted nearly ten minutes, focusing on perseverance and the necessity of believing in one’s own capacity to make dreams come true. Among other quotes, this phrase uttered by the American star can be heard in the latest video for the “Unfiltered” project directed by Jérôme Spleen for Numéro, presented as a manifesto for the affirmation and expression of oneself. Spoken by the biggest international celebrities, these words sound like a universal leitmotif, useful - and necessary even - in an era traversed with doubt and submerged with individualism and competition.
This public practice of positive thinking stems from an international phenomenon: self-love. Type it into Instagram and the hashtag alone brings up over 37 million posts, including countless inspirational phrases against pastel backgrounds, smiling and determined faces, naked bodies supporting the bravery of assertiveness accompanied by statements that could have come straight out of your teenage secret diary ... While Instagram is probably the perfect haunt for narcissism and the exaltation of the individual, Google and other search engines also give pride of place to self-love. In recent years, endless articles compile the optimistic quotes made by celebrities, YouTubers and at TED Talks, all calling for motivation, along with lists brimming with advice on how to practice self-love in everyday life. The tips - sometimes injunctive - are numerous: start your day with a “self-love ritual”, learn to forgive yourself, become more forgiving of others, do what you feel comfortable with, don’t overdose on social media, avoid comparisons… All of them follow the same objective: to help us feel better.