I have alllllll the thoughts about selfies.
But first, let’s define a “selfie.” For the purposes of this blog, a selfie is a photo taken of oneself by oneself, featuring no one but oneself. As in, I do not include group selfies in my definition. When a picture includes multiple people, the implications are vastly different than those of a solo selfie. Keep that in mind throughout this post.
A little about my personal background with selfies: Save for uses on Snapchat (more on that to come), I almost never take selfies for public display. In my life, selfies are reserved for private text message conversations during which I want to send a friend a really horrible picture of my face to make them laugh, or use my face as a live emoji.
On the RARE occasion that I’ve posted a decent-looking selfie to Instagram or Facebook, it’s been with a humorous, self-depricating caption about why I decided to post a picture I took of myself.
I just have a really hard time taking personal selfies seriously in light of the fact that the last 5 minutes of my life were spent trying to take a somewhat flattering picture of my face without dropping my phone onto my forehead, and taking breaks every 30 seconds because my arm got so tired. There’s just no way I can write some inspirational quote after such an experience.
Now, this is not to say I have tremendous disdain for people who regularly post selfies. I do have some thoughts on the frequency of such posts, but as a whole, I understand their appeal. Actually, I understand the appeal so much that I’ve often questioned why I feel so uncomfortable posting them, myself. If I don’t think everyone who posts them are immature narcissists, why do I fear that I’ll be seen as such? Still haven’t found that answer, but it’s pretty safe to assume that by this point, I will never not feel awkward about posting selfies. I’m just not cut out for it.
Despite not being annoyed by 75% of the people who post selfies, I must say that the other 25% make me want to sucker punch them in the very face they’re plastering all over my newsfeed. This is because of one (or all) of the following three issues:
- They post selfies more than once a week
- They look the exact same in every single selfie
- They’re trying to look sexy by including their boobs in the selfie angle, but subtly try to pretend like they posted the picture for some reason other than to look at their boobs, which is all anyone can do because they’re RIGHT THERE.
Let’s dive in.
Listen, as a blogger, I put a lot of faith in the desire of other people to be interested in what I have to say. That’s pretty ballsy, but I also think that I’m an above-average writer with a strong ability to see things in a humorous light. Plus, I’ve had a fair amount of interesting experiences in life that allow me to develop somewhat meaningful thoughts. Thus, I’ve chosen to combine those things and create a space (this blog) that hopefully does the world a little good. However, I don’t think I’m cool enough to be famous– especially not cool enough to be famous for nothing more than my face on a screen. Maybe for my writing, sure, that’d be pretty rad. But for my face alone? I’m not silly enough to think people care that much about my eyebrow game (which is pretty weak).
What I’m getting at is that people who post selfie after selfie after selfie have some warped idea that other people find them interesting enough to stare at their face all the time. They’re not bringing anything to the table except their face. Think about it: Which celebrity posts the most selfies of all time? Kim Kardashian. She has an entire book of selfies, and admitted to taking over 6,000 selfies on her 4-day vacation last week. My arms are throbbing just thinking about it. Now, who is probably the most narcissistic celebrity of all time? I mean, Kim Kardashian has to be up there, trailed closely by her husband, Kanye West. And which celebrity is most famous for doing nothing? Yep. Kim K. Her entire career is about selling herself– no talent, no mission, just her face (and butt). She’s the perfect example that posting tons of selfies directly correlates with one’s narcissism level and lack of legitimate contribution to society. (Sorry to burst your bubble, but your face doesn’t count as legitimate contribution to society.)
I’d venture to say it’s almost more narcissistic for non-celebrities to post endless selfies, because they don’t even have proof that people care. At least Kim Kardashian has a few hundred million dollars in the bank to prove that people like to see her duck face all the time. She has good reason to keep posting selfies: Money. If you don’t even have money to motivate you, what’s the motivation for doing it? It’s pure narcissism: Liking the way you look, and expecting other people to want to look at your face all the time. My message to people in that category: Stop thinking people care more than they do. Self-confidence is one thing, but self-obsession is another.
Purely seeking fame from your face– even “fame” on a small level, be it through “likes” from your friends on social media, or from a few thousand random followers (if you’re lucky)– is so self-absorbed. I can hardly find the words. To me, it’s wildly unattractive and desperate. Sure, you might be an aspiring singer or trying to build a brand, but at least post photos of you doing what you’ve set out to do, not tons of pointless selfies. Do you know what those say? They say that you are your own biggest fan, which means you’re failing. You don’t want to be your biggest fan. No, you want to have actual fans besides your mom or creepy dudes who like to pretend you’re flirting with them through the camera. Therefore, stop admitting to the world that no one cares about you as much as you do by posting a million pointless selfies. That’s not good for your brand. (Unless you’re Kim K, but she has actual fans that pay for her life, so please remember that you are not her, and you are not famous.)
*Remember, here, I’m talking about people who post selfies all the time. Not people who post them once a month or every so often.*
In addition to the high frequency issue (#1), I also have a problem with people whose selfies all look identical (#2). How many more times do I possibly need to see you sitting in your car?? I know cars have great lighting because windshields are built-in reflectors, but reel it in. No amount of quotes by Marilyn Monroe and Coco Chanel will make your face any more interesting than last time I saw it from that exact same angle. If you need a picture to accompany an announcement, get more creative with your face, or perhaps choose a picture that someone else took or, gulp, even one that’s not of you.
Number 3 above that referenced the boobs needs no explanation.
Pictures are great. I post them a TON. But they’re meant to capture memories, and there’s nothing less memorable than that time you got bored so you started taking pictures of your face. Post pictures of spending time with your friends, or of things that capture your attention. If you’re creating a personal brand, fine– post professional photos of yourself to draw interest. That’s 100% A-Okay in my book. Even if you’re not building a brand, but have a fair amount of solo pictures taken by other people, that’s cool. Because if I follow you, it means I like seeing you on my newsfeed.
BUT if every 3rd picture you post is a selfie, check yourself. Primarily those selfies that have no point except to highlight your face. My old roommate takes selfies of himself in cities around the world, which is awesome! That’s an example of an acceptable selfie– because it’s still capturing a memory or experience.
The selfies that reveal one’s self-absorbtion, and induce my (and the world’s) annoyance, are those that serve no purpose other than revealing that you spend an alarming amount of your precious time enthralled by your own face.
I did want to mention that I think Snapchat is a little different, since it has hilarious filters to turn your face into Bambi or an exploding tomato, and allows for videos that can be used to share information or let people in on your day. Watching them makes me feel like I’m hanging out with you, which is kind of fun. It’s certainly not the same as plain old pointless selfies.
Okay, thanks for letting me get all of that out, everybody. Sorry if I’ve unfollowed you because of your endless selfies, but also, not sorry, because I’d rather see pictures of a golden retriever balancing objects on his nose and my other friends hanging out on a rooftop. Like I’ve said, if you want to post them once in a while, I support you. But if you clearly think you’re more famous and important than you are (which, please remember, you’re not hiding very well, because taking pointless selfies every day shows that you don’t have anything better to be doing), I don’t have the patience to deal with it. Go volunteer or read a book or do something to expand your horizons beyond yourself! It’ll serve you well, I promise.