I love a good selfie just when it’s not me that’s in it! There has been much written about selfies and whether they are empowering or just narcisistic. Our first response might be to think that a selfie is narcissism in its worst form. The most self-centered use of social media that screams “look at me”. You might say that it is just superficial after all a selfie invites you to be judged purely on how you look.
But selfies have also been used for good causes. There were the selfies to raise cancer awareness; these involved no make-up, smudged lipstick and balls (no I’m not talking the bouncy kind, i’m talking testicles). So the selfie can help save lives and therefore can be used for good but can the selfie ever be empowering? Both genders like to take selfies but a recent survey carried out by Feelunique.com revealed that the average 16-25 year old woman will spend more than 5 hours a week taking selfies. First of all I am jealous that they have 5 hours a week.
All. To. Themselves.
But secondly this does not sound very empowering, this sounds more like boredom or even desperation. If I had 5 hours a week to play with I can think of much more enjoyable things that I would rather be doing.
Selfies are very popular with teenage girls with them reporting that they find it uplifting, stating that seeing their images on social media boosted their confidence. However social media also been shown to cause self-esteem issues in teenagers, making them self-conscious and giving them unrealistic expectations for how they should look. Take the Kardishians and their endless selfies of them using their waistline trainers. Now don’t get me wrong I love the Kardashians but because of them teenage girls are now buying these hideous waistline trainer contraptions. Teenage girls now want to have the tiny waists that Khloe and co have. They now think it is normal to wear a device that squashes your lung and ribs making it difficult to breathe.
That isn’t normal, that’s just dangerous.
So selfies can be dangerous, morale destroying and time consuming but on the other hand they can raise money, raise awareness and boost self esteem. They can also be inspiring. A classic example of this is Chloe Madeley, the selfie Queen who has documented her body transformation through instagram. She proudly displays the body that she has created as a result of her hard work and her taking a selfie is just another way of her demonstrating that she is the one in control. She has been trolled for her love of selfies but she doesn’t let it stop her.
Chloe is putting out a real message through her selfies unlike the Kardashians and their crazy waist trainer. Chloe’s selfies are a dose of realisim, showing us that it takes a lot of dedication but giving us something to aspire to. Chloe will often be accused of oversharing and being narcissistic and I wonder if her boyfriend (who also loves a good selfie) ever suffers from the same accusations. I doubt it because it does seem that when a woman takes a selfie she is much more likely to be dismissed as narcissistic where as when a man takes a selfie it doesn’t garner the same negative reaction from the
very male dominated media.
The issues of selfies is a complex one but I think we realise that it is much deeper than narcissism. There are many positives to selfies and they can be used as the ultimate feminist statement. Women like Chloe Madeley are using the selfie to promote themselves. Chloe and her selfies are an emblem for women taking control.
The selfie could also be seen as an art form as it is self-portrait in its purest form.The selfie is the next step on from Pablo Picasso’s self portrait facing death or Hockney’s self potrait with Charlie. Like these famous works of art a selfie can connect with people emotionally and as a result the artist (selfie taker) has a responsbility to its audience to be clear in its purpose and to think about what they are really conveying. When you are taking a selfie you are an artist inviting people into your gallery to admire your work.
The Kardashians might want to remember that next time they take a selfie with a waistline trimmer on because at the moment they could be accused of being very selfie-ish.