The slang term ‘selfie’ made it in to the official Oxford English Dictionary around the same time as ‘twerk’ and is actually making some headlines (maybe in an attempt to dethrone conversation from Miley Cyrus). It’s pretty self explanatory, the term refers to self-portraits usually taken by cameras, webcams and smartphones, and now is making headlines as it has been voted the most popular word of 2013.
Success breeds contempt it seems.
For the selfie has become yet another way for popular-media journalists to look down on we the ‘Millennials’. These little snaps of personal life have been used to deem us as selfish, vain, narcissistic little creatures wallowing in the shallow-ness of social media websites; especially Facebook and Instagram.
While yes, I indulge in a casual bit of selfie taking, I can’t take the disapproval of the “youth of today” and our very intimate relationship with technology. We grew up with it, were moulded by it (insert a Dark Knight Rises joke here) and while it may cause concern in areas i.e. internet addiction, technology reliance and the supposed decrease in face to face human interaction, and that’s something that can’t really be changed.
I’ve been interested in Art ever since I could control my fingers, I took it as a subject for fun at every academic importunity. The first thing my teachers would do was to convey the importance of self-portraits and their history, how the way that we see ourselves has evolved over time, understanding the mathematical genius that goes into constructing a face.
The dawn of the homo sapiens saw the first cave paintings depicting what? – The lives of man. When the arts became more refined the portraits also had hidden messages to all refer to the class, social standing and political affiliations of individuals who would pose for hours in order for the artist to capture their image perfectly. The introduction of the first camera allowed portraits to be taken with less hassle and almost as good results and from there to here isn’t that far.
But of course, this ‘me generation’ in the ‘age of narcissism’ is the only one in human history to be obsessed with the notion of capturing our likeness…
You can’t escape the selfie. Every phone, console, tablet, laptop and computer (even some music players) are equipped with this tool of documentation. Because that’s what it is: feeling glamorous? Make sure that you can see it on a rainy day when you don’t feel too good about yourself. New outfit/hairstyle/make up? Well you might not see anyone out so you might as well make sure that you (and others) remember it.
Hell, what’s wrong with having enough confidence to take a picture of yourself? Is body-confidence no longer a positive attribute to strive towards? Anyway, I’ll ashamedly keep taking selfies, accusations of vanity be damned. My body and face are works of art and somebody’s got to appreciate them.
- 2013′s Word of the Year ‘SELFIE’ (learningenglishmatters.wordpress.com)
- The selfie’s screaming narcissism masks an urge to connect | Jonathan Freedland (theguardian.com)