Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Selfie-Centered Culture, by Megan Sukovich

From Lady Gaga to UWL students, people are taking, tweeting, and posting selfies, but some have varying opinions on their appropriateness.

Selfie, Oxford Dictionary's International Word Of The Year, is "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website," but the typical spellchecker doesn't include the word.

Recent research shows that the use of the word 'selfie' has increased by 17,000%. However, despite its notable occurrence, the word selfie does not always have a positive connotation. Some view selfies as a narcissistic expression. Emily Price, a sophomore UWL student, says, “You don’t take them when you think you look ugly, so it’s pretty self-centered. You think you look so great that you need to show yourself off to the world and seek everyone’s approval.”

It is also argued that selfies are revolutionizing self-image. Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ recently released a short film entitled Selfie promoting confidence and redefining beauty to all women around the world. Selfies are a statement to the world of self-expression and confidence. UWL junior Tony Trahan says, “I don’t mind them. I guess there is a sense of individualism to them, but there is a line.”

Many students agree that a selfie taken with multiple people is more socially acceptable because it is not just one individual. Conversely, it is expressed that a selfie with excessive editing is crossing the line. Trahan specified, “If you have to get ready for the selfie or adjust it after you take it, then that’s overboard.”

The rise of the selfie was caused by the increased popularity of social media and the addition of the front facing camera to many mobile devices. ‘Selfie’ was first found as a hashtag, or connected link, on Flickr. It was later discovered in mainstream media sources, such as Instagram and Twitter.