I’m not a “selfie hater” because I do not support people being confident and beautiful… I simply believe that in this age of social sharing, they are overused. The vast majority of the selfies I see are just as over-posed and over-primped as the girls in this video describe. And, most of the time, the images I see are of the same people’s faces in the same places with the same expressions, multiple times a week. I have seen that some people use selfies to hide their bodies (this goes all the way back to MySpace), which goes against the exact premise of this video. When they’re overdone, especially in this fashion, I believe selfies inherently demonstrate a state of narcissism – not confidence and self-acceptance – that social media helps propagate.
I also think that selfies further the incessant need to share every moment of our days. They are the visual representation of the over-sharing status update, the photographic equivalent of the let-me-tell-you-what-I-had-for-breakfast-lunch-and-dinner-in-real-time quibble that no one truly needs to hear.
In addition, I believe that selfies encourage the growing problem of smartphone and social-media induced isolation while in public. I cannot tell you how often I see people taking selfies in public. Maybe they’re really documenting a great moment in life and I should not pass judgment. But, I have to believe that, based on what I see in my own social channels, these self-photographers are more often than not missing out on what’s around them in favor of their personal portrait. I think if we all put down our phones for a week, we’d realize how much is happening around us that we do not see. I’m guilty of this myself, but that’s another rant for another day….
Last, I have seen an increasing number of people using selfies when a real photo would be great! If a friend is nearby and offers to take a picture of you in front of a beautiful landscape – take them up on it! Or, ask a stranger to snap the milestone moment when you finally get to see the Eiffel Tower. Later in life, you’ll appreciate the picture of the moment/landmark AND your smiling face, not the 10 percent of whatever it is that managed to sneak in the frame. Don’t get me wrong, I, along with everyone’s friends and family, LOVE to see the smiling faces of those I know – but not the same pose day in and day out in front of a background I can’t decipher. Or – better yet – absorb the moment, take it in and remember it in your head. We don’t need to snap a cell phone photo of everything.
Now, I will admit that sometimes, selfies can be fun – I think of the picture of my sister, my cousin and I during the half-marathon in Akron, for example. Or even the one my friends and I took before a race last winter – both of these capture the energy and excitement of that moment in time, which cannot be conveyed in a posed photograph taken by a stranger. And that’s completely fine. I support that. But, like anything else that is overused, the selfie has been misused and abused… and that I can’t support.