Say what you will about selfies, one thing is for sure, they are a phenomenon. Our rapidly growing digital age has lead to millions of uploads around the world; we all see photos of you, by you, everyday. There are many who despise the social networking habit, but it is undeniable that selfies have become a common practice in the world of technology. If not popularized when the highly anticipated iPhone 4 was introduced with a reversible camera, it was when our younger generation used their old-school digital cameras and, with great skill, pointed the camera at themselves at flattering angles. The perfect selfie, of course, took many shots to achieve.
Now that Instagram -a photo sharing app owned by Facebook- has gained popularity, the selfie is a daily norm. Scrolling through your feed will leave you counting the many young and surprisingly middle-aged females snapping away at their own faces.
With all this habitual behaviour, what is the bottom line? Is it that the digital age has created a generation so self absorbed that we need ‘likes’ on photos of ourselves to remind us of our worth? What is it about the selfie that is so addictive?
After carefully searching through the 187 people I follow on Instagram, I finally came to a conclusion. Our digital age, our age of innovation, has created a life that has been simplified beyond repair. Rather than individuals fighting to declare their worth through voice and action, society has placed the new generation of tech savvy teens and wanna-be-parents onto a pedestal of judgement. Take a picture of yourself at the right angle, add a proper filter and wait. If you are praised with ‘likes’ by your peers, then congratulations, you have succeeded in this digital age. What happened to the individuals who bragged of their world-changing achievements? Simplification, that’s what.
It’s impossible to label someone who takes selfies as an individual when millions of people across the globe are doing the exact same thing. The moment a selfie is officially posted on the internet, you can be certain that the person behind the camera, or in this case, in front of it, is waiting anxiously for approval. But approval from who? Others who take selfies? What are the credentials of these followers or friends who hold the self esteem of millions in the palm of their hand?
Whether we like it or not, selfies have invaded the world of photography and more importantly the world of esteem. Most commonly taken by females of our generation, is it fair to say that taking a selfie has deemed itself as a coping mechanism for the cruel, judgmental world we live in? Or, is it simply an indication of ignorance, which has plagued the generation that is expected to lead our future world. If our younger generation has anything to prove it is not how attractive we look under layers of Instagram filters, but how we react to the avalanche of technological advances and use them to better the world.
Flip your camera back to its frontal view and look at your screen. There is a whole world out there in front of you that couldn’t possibly be captured in a selfie.