On the subject of Selfies

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!

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51 thoughts on “On the subject of Selfies”

  1. I have nothing to add and agree completely! My wife will take selfies on occasion and will sometimes want to include me. I feel obligated so I smile and keep my mouth shut. I find them a bit vain.
    Danny

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The selfie stick was the #1 invention last year. A stovetop water distiller and the attempt to hook this to a solar stove to bring clean water to thirsty people that have no fuel failed on Kickstarter, earning one dollar. Aside from my narcissism and jealousy, this does seem to indicate a tragic error regarding our priorities!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kim,Loved your take on selfies. Cant agree more. In fact the craze is such that people have lost lives in search of that perfect selfie…I also don’t understand why some parents post the pictures of their kids at every stage in their lives on public platforms….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! It does appear to be some kind of quest now – the “perfect” selfie.
      I can’t really comment on the other point, about photos of kids. I don’t have any kids myself so I’m not really qualified but I will say I wish my parents had taken more. I have very few photos of myself growing up.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I realise it was referring to public platforms. I just don’t really have a strong opinion on it. I have friends sharing photos of their kids on Facebook and that doesn’t really bother me because I know their kids, I don’t get to see them often so it’s nice to see photos of them growing up. I think it’s up to the parent ultimately and to make sure they have privacy settings that they are comfortable with, given the possible consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really good read, and right on target. Made think of an experience I had on my way home one evening. While stopped at a red light I looked in my rear view mirror and was mesmerized by watching the act of “spontaneous” selfie unfold. The young lady in the car behind me took a selfie, fixed her hair, took a selfie, changed the angle, took a selfie, changed hair, took selfie, changed hair and angle…..well you get the point. Probably half a dozen or more photos in the span of a red light for a spontaneous selfie. It was sad to watch.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by & commenting 😀
      Makes me wonder why … What motivated the need to take a selfie at that moment? To an outsider, there doesn’t appear to be anything interesting going on that warrants a photo 😕

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Perhaps they want to keep themselves engraved for posterity- who knows, they might become famous some day and each of these photos would sell for a million bucks- so they are saving up their looks in film.
    Seriously though, I have never been in a perfect selfie myself,, so I am not a fan. I guess, if I looked good and thought I looked good, I might have got a selfie or two- if I could find my camera or iphone at that crucial selfie wanting moment, that is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your input! I’m not sure why they take them, perhaps you’re right & it’s a stockpile in the hopes of gaining fame?
      I just hope they realise that they are more than what they look like … The beauty than can offer the world comes from within.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The only acceptable selfie is when you want a profile picture or an id photo. But ego stroking constantly posting selfies that actually, you took three years ago I truly don’t get. My husband has an awful one of me (picture) in France with a carrier bag, wooly hat walking boots kagool and a cross face. He calls it my bag lady look I think I will use it as an anti- selfie on my profile that’ll show em… 😇

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I wonder how many of them are genuine narcissists? No doubt, there would be some. But I suspect a lot are just insecure people, searching for acceptance & a validation that they are “good enough”. Those are the ones I’m concerned for … What counts is what’s on the inside 🙂 You don’t need anyone’s tick of approval.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is great! Your insights are relatable. I am not a huge fan of selfies yet guilty of taking them once in a while, mostly for gravatar purposes. I’d like to add that your “Us-ie” is called “groufie” here in the Philippines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Danica, thanks so much! I can see the need when it’s for a recent profile pic. The purpose is legit, rather than boastful. Lol Groufie works, probably better than my version too. I had no idea there might have actually been a word for that kind of photo already 😀 Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! 🙂 I find it kind of both weird and sad though that people needed to put a label on it apart from making up the selfie word. But I guess it’s part of the ever unfolding pop culture.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I will never get the selfie craze. I don’t mind taking a few pictures every now and then. But the selfie craze has gone crazy. And those night out selfies in darkish rooms…no-no.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to admit I’ve definitely taken a selfie or ten. I don’t take them seriously. Usually my 7 year old and I being goofy, making funny faces, that kind of thing. I don’t put much value in the likes I get on a picture. To me it is more like a popularity contest…not interested, I’d rather read ha!

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a quick popup challenge. 3 days of posting an inspirational quote. You can find the details here, no pressure just wanted to let you know so you could check it out and participate if interested.

    https://therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/popup-challenge/

    -Niki

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Niki, really valid point you raise here – I think there’s something different about selfies with your kids. The objective is totally different, it’s just harmless fun really. It’s not the type of photo that is a cry for approval or validation.
      And thanks so much for the nomination! Sounds like an awesome challenge & a fantastic idea … I definitely accept 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To me that’s what it is. I can see a ton of “friends” post duck face selfies and one gets 157 likes and the others get 20, 60, or 5. They all look the same, so at the end of the day to me it seems like who is more popular. I agree, that’s exactly what it seems like, a cry for attention. Look how good I did my makeup to be at home all day making it seem like my life is picture perfect and interesting, did you see how tight my shirt is? Sorry, ranting here, but I get tired of seeing them.
        I’m glad! Can’t wait to see who you nominate and your quotes 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “Look how good I did my makeup to be at home all day making it seem like my life is picture perfect and interesting, did you see how tight my shirt is?”
        Haha I love your insight into the thoughts of the selfie taker! No need to apologise for the rant. I completely agree with you. A popularity contest is an apt description.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hahaha that’s what it seems like from the outside when I know that’s what some of them do… At the end of the day, that is sad and I feel bad for them. I think reading is the answer to a lot of things haha, maybe they could read a book, one on self love then they would feel better and post less attention seeking pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Not a bad idea, Niki. You can’t underestimate the value of reading and the positive impact it can have on someone.
        By the way, my three quotes are scheduled and ready to post starting tomorrow. It was harder than I thought! I tried to pick three that each had a different message. Looking forward to hearing what you think! Thanks again for the nomination 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, I met your blog link on meet and greet at Niki’s blog today. Thanks for the recommended blog I liked it and I am now following. I really liked this post on selfies. It is something I don’t really understand as far as this world being so obsessed with them. I am now a follower and look forward to more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Facebook is collecting photo recognition on one year olds without consent and contrary to law in some U.S. states.
    The danger has top be spelled out for the selfie generation: human traffickers and anyone else can buy these for a fee. A horrible example was on our public radio yesterday, poses thought innocent that demonstrate abuse when collected.

    Comment on that other post:
    My dear Kim, the broken heart is a mystery. 17 years of solitude followed before I needed to have my heart broken again, which took ten more years to do, ten years of suspicion that I had lost both my love and my friend, just like Jim Croce in Operator, only much worse. Come visit my Rock Commentaries’ if you are interested in the philosophy of psychology and the contemporary crisis.

    Like

    1. Thanks for stopping by!
      I couldn’t comment on U.S. laws or those of other foreign countries, but to me it’s just a simple case of personal responsibility. Assess the risk of putting things in the public domain & accept the consequences if it goes wrong.
      Broken hearts are part of life. We all go through it & come out the other end. And thank you for the invitation, as a qualified psychologist myself, I’m well aware of the philosophy of my discipline. I tend to keep my blog world separate & focused on light hearted subject matter though 😀

      Like

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