I write when I can. Usually the moments when writing hurts the most are the moments when it is the most necessary.
Written By: Ella
March 15, 2015
Ah, the Golden Age of Technology. A time of laptops, internet, smartphones, and, inevitably, selfies. Selfie-taking is common practice among youth worldwide. They regularly make appearances on our Facebook dashboards and Instagram feeds, so often some may have become nearly blind to their presence. But the world is still in hot debate about this new fad--are selfies merely harmless photographs, or are they the sole cause for narcissism and low self-esteem in young people? I plead the former. Selfies are simply a way of creating an electronic self-portrait, the likes of which has existed for centuries. They’re nothing more than harmless photo taking, a trend that too many are pointlessly fussing over. They can even be a creative outlet for self-expression.
It can be argued that the selfie already is an art form in of itself. Selfies can help teens define themselves, and portray themselves as they want to be seen in the eyes of others. They are just another way of expressing one’s personality. Selfies hold a wide range of possibilities for self-expression—the photo can be creatively edited, the subject of the photo can pose with items they feel help identify themselves, or they can show themselves doing an activity they enjoy. They way a person chooses to portray themselves in a selfie can say quite a bit about them as a person. Selfies are a way for people to highlight the qualities they are proud of, and to unashamedly reveal them to the world. If people can bring themselves to think of selfies as outlets for creativity, instead of merely attention-seeking mechanisms, they could see the possibilities that lie in the art of selfie-taking.
The commotion around the selfie phenomenon is sure to die down eventually. Every new trend has its doubters, those people who refuse to come around to the new way of thinking, instead insisting that the old ways were somehow better. People have a tendency to balk at the idea of change, instead resisting the inevitable. When the first talking movies were released, most people insisted it was simply a fad that would disappear. Did it? Certainly not. Upon the invention of computers, it was incredibly silly to think anyone would ever use one in the home. Now look at all the opportunities we could have missed if those pessimists had been right. Those who refuse to acknowledge the good parts of the selfie are not the forward thinkers that we need in this society. We need people who can help evolve the selfie, who can release its full potential, until one day no one blinks an eye when they see one of these self-portraits. The selfie is in hot debate now, but soon people will realize it’s here to stay, and move on to making a fuss about something else.
It seems one of the biggest concerns around selfies are that today’s youth are becoming too narcissistic. All this selfie-taking appears self-indulgent. But the essence of selfies--a recreation of oneself--isn’t new. How many times did one paint a self-portrait in elementary school, to be displayed on the classroom wall for all to see? Although students had to stare into a mirror for an hour and copy their own image by hand, then have it hung for anyone’s admiration, no one considered that a gateway to narcissism. How can you call that harmless, and then point fingers at the selfie phenomenon? If this is still unconvincing, it should be noted that self-portraits have been around for centuries. Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, and Andy Warhol--in addition to dozens of other famous artists--all created various self-portraits in their lifetimes. These were respected artists, whose work is still relevant today. Who’s to say that the art of the selfie won’t be perfected to the point where it becomes just another art form, to be marveled at for generations to come? If one is going to accuse selfies of being narcissistic, they’ll first have to examine the work of famous artists and decide if they’re willing to call their portraits pointless.
As long as people have fun with it, and don’t get to focused on how many “likes” they’re getting on your photos, selfies are harmless. They’re just another self-portrait, another way of expressing oneself, another trend to be accepted into society. Selfies don’t need to be the enemy; they’re simply another part of this Age of Technology we’re living in. And no matter how hard one fights against them, they’re not going away. Selfies are here to stay, and either one can jump on the bandwagon and embrace this trend, or they can be left in the dust.