In Defense Of The Selfie

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


When you look up “selfie” on Urban Dictionary, you’ll find a handful of definitions, all of which seem to hold an air of negativity.

From the snide

“A strange phenomenon in which the photographer is also the subject of the photograph, in a subversive twist on the traditional understanding of the photograph.”

To the blunt

“The beginning of the end of intelligent civilization.

From one end of the spectrum…

“The taking of a picture of yourself and posting it to Facebook because you have extremely low self-esteem and you need people to comment to tell you how hot or pretty you look.”

To the other

“A ridiculous practice of narcissism.”

This generation seems to have simultaneously created the Selfie Movement while also condemning it. We are living in a world of contradictions, where people posting photos of themselves is both a cry for attention yet also a conceited flaunting; where we look at some selfie-filled feeds with annoyance, but others with envy or admiration. We have the angel telling us, Be confident! You’re beautiful! Love yourself! while the devil mutters, She just wants attention.

When it comes to other people posting selfies, I ask one question: why does it matter to you?

I mean that rhetorically for the most part, but also, REALLY. Think about why you care so much about whether people post photos of themselves. You shouldn't.

So much of today’s world suggests that we just aren’t good enough. There's a great amount of pressure to look a certain way, leaving us feeling discouraged about our own, average appearance. So if you wake up one day and you're ~feeling yourself~ and want to post a picture, GO FOR IT.

Selfies on Instagram specifically seem to get a lot of criticism, opposed to sites like Facebook where you'd upload a designated profile picture. A hefty majority of the social network platform is food, fashion, and nature, and apparently, some people want to keep it that way. No selfies allowed. I’d like to counter that argument and say that nearly anyone can take a picture of trees or a sandwich, but no one looks like you. Selfies make your feed more unique, more YOU.

When I post a selfie, it's because for that moment, I thought, "Hey, I look kinda good," and I wanted to share that. Not to fish for compliments, not to brag. Just because.

By wanting someone to post less pictures of themselves (or none at all), you're either saying You're not attractive, so stop, or You're attractive, but stop, both of which are unnecessary. Let people love themselves. Let them spread self-love and self-confidence. Maybe some people DO just want to hear that they're pretty, or maybe they DO think too highly of themselves. But that's not your call to make. Let karma get them eventually. It's not your place to judge.

Selfies do not mark the end of intelligent civilization.
They are not a practice of narcissism either.

Though I’ll give the third one to you… they are a twist on the traditional photograph.


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