I’ve debated writing this post for a while, which is something I find that I do whenever I want to write about something that makes me a little uncomfortable or that I think I won’t get a favorable response on.
Welp, guess you guys have liked me long enough anyway, right?
I want to talk about selfies.
Up until about a year or two ago, you probably had never even heard this word. I hadn’t. I mean, they existed. Every since the beginning of portraiture, mankind has been seemingly obsessed with capturing their own appearance. (Don’t believe me? History don’t lie.)
There’s even a fairly fun trend in the art world of turning iconic photos into selfies. (I kind of love it.)
The point is, selfies are not actually a new thing. What is new (and especially poignant with the onslaught of social media, which gave millions of teenagers a platform on which to project their faces), is the sudden and sharp distaste for the genre.
I mean, I can’t lie — I get it. I get that it’s irritating to see someone post photo after photo of their own face. Like, what, you think we forgot what you look like? You’re just doing it to get compliments. It’s totally self-centered. Right?
Sometimes, I think that’s true. But I think there has to be more to it. Because, yeah, okay, I know a lot of people who are self-centered in general who post a lot of selfies. (It makes sense that so many teenagers, who are notoriously absorbed with their own lives and worlds, would be the biggest offenders.)
But I also know a lot of sweet, selfless, otherwise mild-mannered people who still post the occasional shot of themselves. (Usually with all the usual “eek #obligatoryselfie” disclaimers, of course.)
Heck, I’ve done it. I counted no fewer than 21 selfies on my Instagram account. And that’s not even counting the dozens of “half-face”, hair shots, and group photos I’ve uploaded in the last two years.
But, I mean, I also write a blog about my life, so clearly I don’t have that many qualms about showing you my face.
So why do we do it? Obviously, I have a theory. Two, actually.
The first is that a selfie is solid, near tangible way of marking a moment in time. This is me. On this day, at this moment. Here I am. I was.
It’s something you can point to and remember. Pine for or be glad is over. Selfies are a little peek into your history.
That’s one theory. The other theory is much simpler, and way less philosophical.
A selfie is a way of capturing a moment when you felt good about yourself. After all, most of us only post flattering selfies. I know when I do it, it’s sometimes a way of saying, “Look, you guys! I look pretty right now!”
And yes, that is a petty reason for doing something. But I also have a hard time judging someone else for feeling pretty. (And I try not to judge myself for feeling that way either.) There are too many reasons to feel ugly these days, and too many people perfectly willing to tear others down for the sake of some shallow feeling of superiority.
Whenever I feel myself getting annoyed at someone for posting too many photos of himself or herself, I try to remember that. I try to to be happy for them for feeling pretty. Proud of them, even.
So, yeah, a Facebook album titled “Me*!*!*!*!*!<3lol” packed with 30 photos you took in the mirror is annoying. But the occasional “Woooo new haircut!” post? I can deal.
You probably look pretty spectacular, anyway.