When I hear the word ‘Selfie,’ I cringe. The notion of taking a picture of yourself, for me, is totally different to someone taking a photo of you.
I immediately think of the millions of girls who are pretty in their own way, imitate the famous ‘Kylie Jenner look’. I think of the people who are obsessed over gaining and losing followers, the people who only post online during certain times for more likes or even worse, the people who have a Instagram tracking app that alerts who has followed and unfollowed them and begins to cry at a restaurant table about how ugly they are…thats called fishing. Although I sat there and told them how beautiful they were, it didn’t seem to mean as much as those virtual likes and comments. (…not mentioning names)
The ‘selfie hype’ continues to grow as technology advances, for some, taking a selfie is a process of deleting hundreds of photos before you find the perfect one, with a perfect filter but for others a selfie may be a ‘cultural practise’ or raising awareness such as the ALS ice bucket challenge.
Theresa M. Senft and Nancy K. Baym break down what a selfie is into two different components;
- ‘A Selfie is a photographed object between that of a photographer and the person being photographed’
- ‘A Selfie is a practise- its like sending a gesture and sharing a message between individuals, communities and audiences’- this is subject to change with influences such as censorship, the amount of likes, interpretation etc.
During class we touched on the idea of Selfies as a ‘Moral Panic,’ but in understanding what constitutes as a moral panic, one has to be reminded that each generation has a moral panic (something they aren’t used to.)
Cue scene from Dirty Dancing:
|The good type of Selfie:||Bad Stigma surrounding Selfies:|
|o A selfie movement used to empower young women. For example, the “no make-up selfie” and #Feministsareugly||o “Science Links selfies to narcissism, Addiction and Low self-esteem”|
|o Selfies used to promote ALS– ice bucket challenge (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)||o Selfies have been blamed for peoples mental states|
|o Selfies in the slums of brazil- fight oppression and express there true identify gives the ‘favelados’ a sense of empowerment.||o Selfies stay online forever- Do you want your future employer seeing these?|
|o Political Movements such as #BringBackOurGirls as well as the #WISH movement||o We cant conceptualize a selfie or understand how that person wants to be perceived.|
|o Racial Protests such as #WhatADoctorlookslike||o It is impossible to control where a selfie may end up.|
|o Raise social awareness such as Suicide awareness|
“When a selfie enters the digital space it becomes part of a ‘digital superpublic’ this picture can live on through time, space and place”, states Senft and Baym.
Selfies today are heavily judged and scrutinised to the point where we have become scared and anxious to post a selfie or any photo of ourselves online due to what people may think or even comment. It is a selfie that stays online for all too see even if it has been deleted. A lot of Selfies depend on context, the environment we are in or the country we are in when determining how they are perceived.
John Berger states, “For centuries woman have strived for the approval of men-Men look at woman. Women watch themselves being looked at.”
But the bottom line is that are Selfies and even ourselves are perceived by others one way or another, whether this is in a good way or a bad way. We are constantly selective in the way we construct ourselves that it has become almost second nature to like or post certain things onto our online feeds.
Take a selfie, don’t take a selfie. In the end the only one who suffers the repercussions is you. Personally I believe that a selfie with purpose is a lot more effective and monumental that an everyday ‘Kylie Jenner Selfie’ but as the saying goes…
You do you, Boo!