So. I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while. The selfie craze. I had hoped it was a passing fad like the planking phase (I’m sure we all remember that one) but it appears the selfie is here to stay. Much to my chagrin. I’ll confess right now, I’m not a fan. They are a pet hate. I’d rather have root canal surgery, and the hefty bill that comes with it, than see my Instagram feed filled with selfies. Perhaps I’m missing something because I just don’t get the compulsion to take endless photos of myself.
My over-active mind has pigeon-holed selfies into three categories. Some seem reasonable, others less so. Let’s discuss.
Selfie type one I call the “lonely traveller”. Those of us who love to travel and visit the wondrous places of the world will perhaps have found ourselves in this situation. You’re standing there, staring at some magnificent site, perhaps its Machu Picchu or the Great Wall of China, and you are awestruck by the experience. You just have to capture it. Record for posterity you were at this historical wonder. But there’s nobody around to take a photo. This selfie is excusable, it has something to say. This selfie inspires others to ask questions. It’s a conversational selfie, if you like.
Selfie type two I’m calling the ‘Us-ie”. Yep, that’s not a word. Not even close. I’ve invented it. The Us-ie is only a selfie in so far as one of the faces in shot took the photo. Us-ies usually occur on a night out. Some great event with friends. The first shot of the night showing happy, dressed-up, smiling people. The problem with the us-ie is the quality of said photo directly corresponds to the quantity of alcohol consumed. Us-ies progressively deteriorate throughout the night. For some reason, the alcohol convinces us the last photo of the evening is award-winning and it’s inevitably and promptly posted to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat (name your poison) complete with garbled caption. It’s the photo we all regret the next afternoon when we awake in what appears to be fog but quickly realise is a hangover. By then it’s too late. Everyone and their Nana has seen the evidence of your debauchery.
Selfie type three is the “low self-esteem” selfie. This is my least favourite and the one I don’t get at all. It’s the shot of nothing but you, usually with a face in some trending pose (read duck-face) and that’s it. Zero substance. To me, it’s the cry for praise, for reassurance or compliments. It tells me nothing else about you or what you are doing. Well, except the ones taken in bathrooms of pubs and clubs. And I really don’t want to know what you did in there. If you took a photo of your shoe it would tell me just as much. But at least I could ask where you got them if they were that awesome. And let’s face it. You took 6 million shots before you found one you liked.
Speaking seriously for a minute, if I may. I think I just find it concerning that so many people, young people in particular, have become selfie-obsessed. Have we really become so self-absorbed by our physical appearance? I’m all for living healthy and looking after our bodies but in reality, the body is just the packaging. We are so much more than our looks. What makes us who we are as a person is found on the inside. That’s where the true beauty is. I have met people in my life where on first impression I may have thought “hmm, nope, he’s definitely not my type” … given time to get to know the person behind the looks and the situation can change. Suddenly this decidedly average looking, geeky, short (feel free to add your own words here) person has become so attractive to you … and it’s all because you’ve found them to be intelligent, witty, funny, and just plain fascinating. It’s true what they say … you can’t judge a book by its cover.
My problem with the selfie is that I worry people use it as a means to boost their self-confidence. They flood social media with supposedly “sexy” selfies in an attempt to make themselves feel good as they sit back and watch the “likes” and comments flood in. And all I can do is feel sad for them. These people don’t like you, they don’t even know you. You’ve objectified yourself to be nothing but a pretty package to look at. Be more than that. Self-confidence comes from within. You don’t need the praise and admiration of others. You are more than just the packaging people … remember that!