Monday, 16 December 2013

Selfie Culture… Scary Stuff

I'll admit that I've taken a few selfies in my time. Not nearly as many as most Gen Ys but I'm certainly guilty nonetheless. When I take selfies, I try to make them look like Alexa Chung's... confident and mildly artsy. Instead, they usually end up looking about as flattering as Miley Cyrus' (without the tongue). Hopefully, the amount of selfies I take wouldn't increase too much if I was actually good at it but who knows? I'm kind of in love with myself. 

Weather you like it or not, it's time to accept that the term selfie has not only been added to the Oxford Dictionary, it's their word of the year for 2013. Selfie is defined as:

A photograph one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

Not only is it a photo taken of yourself, it's taken with the intention of showing it to the world. This is the interesting part. The only explanation I can come to is that we are seeking the approval of our peers, who's opinions are purely based on the way we look. This is kind of scary.

Worse still, instead of society frowning upon this trend like they did with sexting, they're embracing it like YouTube “How To” videos. What's up with that? Selfies are not a learning tool, nor do they teach you how to perform difficult tasks when you're too stubborn to ask for help.

I thought the leaders and influential figureheads of modern society would see right through this international phase of narcissism. Perhaps they could inspire youths to look beyond this culture of peer-based approval to find self acceptance. Sadly, this is not the case. It turns out the most successful and influential people in the first world also love a bit of selfie action... I'm looking at you, Obama.

With the majority of the world embracing this trend, it makes me wonder where it will lead us. In decades to come, I think we can find ourselves in either of two situations. Firstly, the world could continue to embrace selfies and explode into one massive ball of narcissism. Secondly, the next generation could look back on the trend and cringe in a similar fashion to the sartorial choices of the 80s.

Thankfully, I think the second scenario is far more likely to occur. Maybe this culture of self indulgence will inspire the next generation to view such acts as lame and unnecessary. Perhaps they'll look back on these times and make fun of our narcissism.

Whatever the outcome, I think we all (myself included) need to relax on the snapping situation. If you wake up with an amazing head of Serena Van-der-Woodsen style hair one morning, sure, take a selfie. If you take selfies with blank expressions and trampy make up, your old school friends and in-laws probably don't want to see it in their news feed.

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