In 2013, the word ‘selfie’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. And then the world ended. Well, not quite. But the world has changed quite a lot since people realised that a simple extension of the arm is like having your very own tripod. There’s countless blog posts and videos explaining how to take the perfect selfie. Kimmy K even released her own book filled entirely with her own selfies. That’s right. The most self-centred “book” in history gets to sit within the vicinity of Ulysses, Great Expectations, and Wuthering Heights.
Last year, I was standing outside the Colosseum in Rome when I saw a group of American tween-age girls approaching. ‘Let’s get a picture’, one of them said and, with their heads grouped together and the most iconic symbol of Imperial Rome in the background, started snapping away. ‘Look, isn’t that nice,’ I thought, ‘the kids of today really appreciating the culture and history of this great city and wanting to capt-’. ‘Wait, wait, wait, the lighting’s terrible,’ one of them shouted. And then they proceeded to shuffle around so that the greatest structure of the Roman Empire was in front of them, not within the frame of their picture. I could not make this stuff up.
I am categorically against selfies. The above situation is not the only time I’ve witnessed people doing something completely crazy in a quest for the perfect pic. Once, I saw a couple almost get hit by a car because they were too busy fiddling with their selfie stick to realise that they had wandered into the road and were now facing the oncoming traffic. Also, if selfies are not the most self-indulgent thing in the world I don’t know what is.
And did you know that cases of head lice have dramatically increased due to people putting their heads together while taking a selfie? That is just about the most horrifying thing about this craze.
Paroksh, don’t even try and tell me I’m wrong.
In today’s world, so many of us struggle with issues of self-esteem, self-confidence, and all the rest of it. To sort ourselves out, we binge eat, we drink copious amounts of alcohol, we vent emotionally to our friends, and we take selfies. Someone once told me that a person’s favourite sound was the sound of their own name. By the same logic, a person’s favourite sight is the sight of their own self. So, what’s the harm in taking a shot of one’s own self when doing so can make them feel better about themselves and the world? If you’ve gone the extra mile to nail your eye make-up, go ahead and take a picture. Affirm yourself. Don’t let it count for nothing. (PS: If you hadn’t yet realised, the selfie camera is a perfect substitute for a mirror)
The question is different, however, when it comes to publicising selfies. I bring to your attention the case of the photographer in a social setting. Everyone has been in a situation where they’ve been asked to take a photo of their friends. How lonely did you feel? Did it then take a full hour to take photos of the group with each person taking turns at being the photographer? Well, guess what? The selfie is the single stone that kills both these birds.
Also, where would we be without Snapchat?
My dearest Maeve, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.