With the ever-increasing influence and convenience of social media in modern society, exciting new crazes have been spreading across the nation over the past few years like wildfire. In case you’ve been living under a rock (in a cave, in the middle of the ocean, on Saturn) for the last year, the latest of these crazes has been dubbed the ‘selfie’. It’s a fantastic new idea which involves a creative individual taking a photo of themselves by ingeniously rotating their camera/smartphone (unless they’re fortunate enough to have a phone with a front-facing camera) 180 degrees and pulling a suitably amusing/happy/confused face for all their lucky viewers.
Except this idea is neither fantastic nor new. Don’t flatter yourselves; human beings have been taking pictures of themselves in this manner for decades. Let me say some words on the matter.
Firstly, I don’t understand why so many people suddenly think that their faces are worthy of the world’s attention, or essential viewing for their friends on a daily basis. Well, actually, I do. These people are fishing for compliments, seeking acceptance from a world that specialises in lies and disappointment. It’s a very weak place to lay your hope.
Secondly, I’m perplexed as to why we’ve decided that we need to appropriate a name to this reprehensible act. Maybe we’ve done it to try and somehow paper over the self-aggrandising nature of the ‘selfie’ by giving it a catchy name and integrating it into society via the steadfastness of the dictionary, or maybe we’re just far too lazy to say ‘self-portrait’ or ‘photo of myself’. Regardless, ‘selfie’ is something I’d expect to hear from the mouth of a 12 year-old girl, not a fully grown adult.
Thirdly, it is incredibly annoying when a friend posts a picture of somewhere interesting but their face is filling up the vast majority of the photo. They might as well be in their bedroom, as far as I’m concerned.
I think the ‘selfie’ is actually part of a bigger problem (I put the word in inverted commas because I refuse to acknowledge it as a worthy part of common parlance).
Everyone wants to be idolised. There is a common trend in modern society of self-serving, self-loving and self-obsessing behaviour. This narcissism has crept into every facet of our culture, and is perhaps most notable in popular reality television shows where contestants are encouraged to ‘follow their dreams’ and are warned against ‘settling’ for an ‘ordinary’ job. It’s a message that stems from the notion that we are all the centre of everyone else’s universe, that we are all destined for fame and glory and that success is measured by popularity. The word ‘ordinary’ has become so taboo that Jessie J, Louis Walsh or *insert any other ‘follow your dreams’ celebrity* would probably kill me on the spot were I to describe someone as such.
For the sake of the next generation, we need to change our attitude. Children are growing up thinking that they own the world and that it owes them something, which can come as no surprise when you consider the list of role models with which they’re presented. Female musicians who rely solely on sexual appeal, deceitful footballers, blasé politicians, comedians who overuse swear words and laugh at their own jokes (did someone say ‘Jack Whitehall’?), pseudo-liberal TV presenters and One Direction. Everyone wants to be looked at; the art of humility is indeed a lost one.
When it comes to ‘selfies’, I hope you can see the bigger picture.
NB: I do believe the latest fundraising initiative involving self-portraits to be most worthwhile, but why not just donate £3 regardless?!