Selfies are as commonplace as sliced bread, metro delays and celebrity babies. To be quite honest, there’s really nothing new here. So why then, are our camera rolls still full of selfies? Why is Photo Booth belligerently pinned to our computer’s dock?
Despite the inherent mundanity that comes with all abused fads, why are selfies still so prevalent that modern theme parks need to ban selfie sticks from their grounds, along with drugs and alcohol? Is the selfie so ingrained in us that we need to be protected from ourselves? And if so, what exactly are we trying to say with all these self-portraits. Like all raw and evocative art, the message escapes the artists - the selfie speaks for itself, but what does it say about us?
Photo cred: cbc.ca
I think there are two common camps in this white-hot debate. There are those who post selfies, and those who scorn people who post selfies. And there are the very old and very young, who would fall into one camp or another but are simply too feeble to press the capture button. Imagine the scene as folks poised in front of other peoples’ convertibles or in their bathrooms, crusty loofahs in the background all the while with their phones held high ready for the shutter sound. There’s that, and there’s the people behind their computer screens laughing at them, calling them self-absorbed or narcissistic or whatever else people say.
You wanna know what your selfie says about you? It says that at the time it was taken, you felt confident enough in your appearance that you decided to take a photo and share it with the world. Maybe you just did it to get enough likes to feel validated in a society where the opinions of acquaintances somehow seem more valuable than those of our own parents. There’s a deeper issue at work there, but is that really the fault of any one selfie alone?
Photo cred: hepingshijie.com
Some might argue that the selfie displays a unprecedented propensity for egotism unique to millennials or the twenty-first century in general. But when you visit an art gallery, or a historic home are there not corridors full of portraits? For goodness sake, there’s an entire museum in London dedicated to commissioned portraits, more often than not paid for by the subjects within them. The only difference between then and now is that I don’t have to be a great lady, or pay some poor artist to capture me in my bathroom with my shameless loofah.
If someone feels confident, and wants to share that, I think they should be able to do so without being ridiculed. Is that time they could have put towards something else? Sure. Doing things that really make a difference, like curing cancer or ending world hunger? Probably not.
So really, what does it matter? Maybe the question at hand should actually be this: what does an automatic aversion to other peoples’ selfies say about us?