The concept of the “selfie” has revolutionised todays modern world. Wherever you go and whoever you see, the eyes of the people around you, are glued to their smartphones and/or aimed towards something found to be photo-worthy
such as themselves. It is a phenomenon that has established itself as the generation of todays “cultural obsession”, even earning a place in the Oxford Dictionary as a real word!
It starts with the smartphone, tilted at the right angle, around about 45 degrees, with an outstretched arm. The lighting has to be just right, either the natural light beaming from behind you or the fluroscent lights of the bathroom to give But the pose, the pose is of great importance. Raised eyebrows, closed half-smile, tilt of the head, pouting lips, “smizing”, peace sign…the list is endless. Oh, and you can’t forget the flattering filter. A nice softened tint or vinyl glow, even a little photoshop to eliminate the bags under your eyes. And then…SNAP! FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and any other social media site of your choice have been graced by your latest selfie. So now what?
Waiting on all those “likes” and “comments” is the epitome of actually taking/posting a selfie. Without them, why would you go to all the effort correct? The “likes” make us feel good and appreciate ourselves. We gain a sense of gratitude, confidence, acceptance and reassurance. As humans, we want to feel admired and loved, and being “liked” numerous times provides us with this sense of relief and goodness. So we repeat the process over and over again, each time with a different hairstyle, pose or backdrop, to continue on to feel this satisfaction. It’s addicting and fun nonetheless. Has society become narcissistic in this way? Or is it all just a bit of fun? If you log onto Instagram right now, under the hahtags #me and #selfie, you will find a combined total of 635,954,013 selfies and growing per second. That is huge!
I’m not going to lie now, I myself have taken a selfie…or 200…this afternoon alone. I believe it’s simply a way of monkey-see, monkey-do. Everybody else is doing it, why shouldn’t I right? According to Jerry Schultz’s article “Art at Arms Length: A History of the Selfie” the rapid progression and popularity of the selfie stems from “their primary purpose is to be seen here, now, by other people, most of them unknown in social networks…/ they are never accidental…/ any selfie that you see had to be approved by the sender…/ This imlplies control as well as the prescence of performing, self-criticality and irony”.
Just like the collage above, selfies are taking over a large portion of our lives. Even the POPE is getting in on the action. It truly is amazing how taking a photo of yourself has turned into a phenomenon, given it has been around for centuries. I suppose now, this has transcended into the digital age and has become, in its own right, a way of documenting ourselves and our lives. According to Dr. Mariann Hardey, selfies are a way of “continuously rewriting yourself” and “used as a visual diary…/ exploring our identity in digital form”.
But how far is too far? Selfies are invasive, and since the uprise, we can see both men and women (but far more increasingly women) taking to social media by self-objectifying and expressing themselves in ways they feel enhances themselves, if it be by provocative clothing or poses. It all comes down to a matter of debate, but in my own opinion, falling into this path of exposure, can lead to a dangerous, skewed perception of how women and young girls are viewed.
Of course it is not only selfies that have encompassed the lives of everyday people, but we are seeing this same, almost obsessive interaction within social networking use, particularly YouTube. YouTube allows anyone, at any time, to upload a video file of whatever they please, with hopes of attracting instant attention and as many “thumbs up” as possible. Typically, these videos are silly, incoherent…ultimately making them all the more popular.
Take a look at the video below, it has over 54 MILLION VIEWS and is dedicated to the important, educational fundamental of people getting scared! Again, this could be linked to the developing narcissism of todays younger generation or simply that we are overtly bored with whatever is going on in our everyday lives (or lack thereof).
Selfies and are here to stay! It’s as simple as that. As long as cameras and computers are around…the rest is history.