by Caitlyn Tierney & Geneva Gleason
by Geneva Gleason
Faced with the task of developing an identity in a digital world, the selfie has become a part of our generation, making the front-facing camera a method for fostering self-esteem.
Most importantly, selfies give photographers control over their faces, bodies and overall presentations. Especially from a female perspective, the selfie is an opportunity for a woman to dictate her own image on social media. After decades of women being objectified by the media through photography, women can make a definitive statement about their online images through selfies.
The selfie is posted to Instagram, Facebook and other social networking platforms in the hopes of getting “likes.” Undoubtedly, posting a selfie that receives a high number of “likes” boosts self-esteem.When people post selfies, they are taking an active step towards higher self-esteem. And when your Facebook page is littered with so many photos that you perceive to be unattractive, posting a selfie gives you the control to look at your profile and feel good about yourself.
Many argue that the selfie promotes narcissism. For example, many point to President Barack Obama’s self-portrait at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service to exemplify how these pictures force us to focus on ourselves instead of others. While President Obama’s selfie may not have been in good taste, it is not indicative nor is it representative of selfie culture at large. There is a marked difference between narcissism and confidence; unless someone’s entire Instagram feed is devoted to these photos, selfies are likely an expression of or a move towards confidence, something society should absolutely be encouraging.
With over 68 million Instagram posts tagged #selfie, the culture of self-photography is growing. Ideally, this means 68 million expressions of self-love. If you see a selfie on a social media feed, consider “liking” it, even if you’re not close with the person. Eleven “likes” easily could make someone’s day, and being part of someone’s positive self-image is something of which we can all be proud.
by Caitlyn Tierney
When does capturing the moment turn into a moment of narcissism? Nowadays, taking a picture is easy. So easy, in fact, that a troubling trend of disturbingly poor taste has evolved.
Selfies themselves are not the problem. The problem is when people lose the ability to judge which situations warrant the vanity of a self-portrait. Selfies at home? Fine. Selfies with your new pet? Sure. But selfies at a funeral? Really?
The level of respect should be obvious at a wake or funeral. You attend to remember the deceased, to pay respect to grieving families. Not to appease your incessant vanity by Instagramming pictures of your mourning outfit, or to disturb those around you by taking selfies with the casket. (Need proof? Check out selfiesatfunerals.tumblr.com).
But it’s not just funerals that get their share of narcissists. In October, Florida teen Malik Whiter took a selfie when his teacher went into labor during class, according to nydailynews.com. His pregnant teacher is shown looking pained in the background while Whiter grins. Shouldn’t he be more concerned with helping her get to the hospital than with snapping pics?
Even more shocking was one woman’s selfie while watching a suicide attempt. In December, a crowd gathered near the Brooklyn Bridge, watching an unnamed man preparing to jump. Before police got him down safely, a young woman cracked a smile and posed with the desperate man in the background, according to nypost.com.
These examples seem extreme, don’t they? Surely most people would have the common sense to know when a photo-op is appropriate. Most people—excluding perhaps President Barack Obama, who took a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. They attended the service to remember an important man but ended up focused on their appearance.
There’s a huge difference between taking a picture for fun and hijacking an event for attention. Just because you can take a picture doesn’t mean you should.