Know Thy Selfie: Exploring Selfie Culture with Maggie
“First… let me take a selfie.”
A 2014 study showed that one million selfies are taken everyday. A phenomenon that has taken millennials by storm, selfie culture has become a hot button topic in todays society. Selfies have become a business, where people like Kim Kardashian and India Love make money every time they post a selfie online.
Who doesn’t like a nice selfie from time to time?
Apparently, a lot of people.
Today’s vernacular is such a dynamic and ever changing process. Everyday there’s a new word; take selfie for instance. When that word becomes popular, it begins its own subculture with its own language, and then we get words like selfie-shaming.
Sooo, what’s selfie-shaming?
Here’s a video that gives a great depiction of selfie shaming.
If you don’t have time to watch, I’ll just let you know what’s going on. At a baseball game, there was a ”Tweet us a fan photo” contest in which a winner would be picked and would receive a prize. When these sorority girls take selfies to participate in the contest, the commentators start to selfie-shame them. They ridicule the girls for taking selfies to send in for a contest.
Selfie shaming in its simplest definition is deriding someone who is taking a picture of themselves for a variety of reasons.
My roommate Maggie Loughlin was feeling particularly impassioned about this topic, so I decided that we should collaborate on this post! Maggie is my selfie-shaming expert for this piece, and is going to give her thoughts on the issue.
Not to sound too much like a piece of feminist literature, but most of the time when we talk about selfie shaming, it’s inflicted by a man onto a woman. You don’t see many women saying men are just fishing for likes. “Men are allowed to appreciate women anytime they want,” said Loughlin, referencing over sexualized video game characters, advertisements, and regular media portrayals, “If a woman tries to appreciate her own beauty, all of a sudden she’s vapid, vain, and stupid. It’s the laziest way to disenfranchise women.”
But why? Why do some men shame women who are simply “feeling themselves” enough to post a picture? Maggie commented, “A selfie is the epitome of a woman being in charge of her own image and how she wants to be portrayed, for whatever reason some men don’t want women to take charge of their own image.” A common phrase heard over the internet is “Ladies, do yourself a favor and put some black tape over your front-facing camera.” A phrase Maggie didn’t appreciate too much. “If you tell me to put black tape over my camera, I’ll put black tape over your mouth.” Thattagirl, Maggie.
Now it’s not all black and white. Sometimes women (and men, too) post pictures that are truly “thirsty.” It’ll have an attached comment like, “I’m so ugly lol,” or, “I hate my smile!” That right there is an example of fishing for compliments. That’s not the purpose of selfies though! “The point of selfies is to empower yourself,” said Maggie. I agree, if I’m going to post a picture online, I’m not going to comment on how unattractive I am. I clearly thought the picture was good enough to post. It’s gone through several stages of vetting and preparation and has finally made its way onto your screen. You think I’m going to call myself ugly after all that?
Another topic Maggie and I discussed was this new school of thought that taking selfies can actually ruin your relationship. “If your man is mad at you for posting selfies, more than likely he’s the same guy telling you what to wear,” Maggie said. “That isn’t the guy you want to date. That guy’s creepy.” The only way I could see selfies seriously damaging a relationship is if “taking selfies” became a euphemism for cheating.
Isn’t selfie culture fun? I guarantee it isn’t all shaming and depressing. I can’t really understand why some people take selfies so seriously, its another one of those trivial things that have become overcomplicated over time. My only advice is to practice self-love and treat yo’ self. If you want to take that selfie- take it!
This has been a little detour from our regularly scheduled programming of biracial life, but hey- you can see this as another one of my university experiences as a mixed person. It’s up to you. While you decide, check out my articles for college magazine. Links are below! Be sure to share, like, and comment below as well- I love to hear feedback from you guys.