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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

OPINION: Think before you selfie

We’ve all done it. How can we not? With a front facing camera that has decent photo-taking abilities, why not capture a quick image of what you’re up to?

The selfie culture has evolved swiftly. First gaining popularity during the era of Myspace, people have been snapping shots of themselves doing everything from climbing mountains to making lunch. Usually this activity is done alone as it can be embarrassing to be caught in public doing such a thing.

Taking a self-shot photo has reached a summit that has never been scaled before – on Tuesday, May 5, Kim Kardashian released a 352-page book titled “Selfish”. The book is made up entirely of Kardashian’s selfies. Ludicrous, isn’t it? Apparently not everybody thinks so. It sold 14,000 copies in the U.S. in 13 days and is currently the #1 best seller in Amazon’s portrait photography category. People are actually going out there and buying this book.

There are a variety of theories of how taking selfies can make people over-obsessive with their looks. According to a study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, one in three surgeons mentioned an increase in surgery requests because people want to appear better on social media. Does spending thousands of dollars to physically alter your body for the sake of social media seem reasonable? A study by Psychology Today shows the brain often connects selfies to self-promotion. Unless you’re a celebrity or public figure there seems to be no reason to promote one’s self. So in a way, we don’t yet know the long term effects that selfies could have on our society. 

Selfies can paint an image on social media of what someone’s life looks like. Through different apps and Photoshop, you can become whoever you want to be online. These images construct the life we all wish we could live. Narcissism at its purest form is excessive interest in oneself and that is what selfies can indulge. And we’re not saying that loving yourself and thinking you look good is wrong, you just need to be careful not have it take over your life. Essentially, don’t become the next Kardashian.

Posting a consistent feed of pictures of yourself can be a double-edged sword. It can make the poster narcissistic, and also creates a certain type of pressure that is unnecessary. On the other end, people only see us the way we want them to, and that creates a skewed perception of who we really are. Do what you want with your camera, but don’t be selfish. 

The editorial board is composed of Anna Jentoft, Dylan Green, Brandon Stone and Stephanie Villiers.

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