By Autumn Moon
In 2013, the word “selfie” was so commonly used that it was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and around the same time, it was announced “word of the year.”
A selfie is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” Although selfies seem like a current phenomenon, variations of selfies have been around for decades in the form of artistic self-portraits, as well as old-fashioned timer photographs.
But, what truly is the significance of a selfie? So many people argue that selfies are vain, self-absorbed and promote a culture of narcissism and obsession with one’s appearance. Are these people right? Or, is there more to snapping a personal picture?
To assert that a selfie is a positive or negative thing is a highly complex and complicated statement to make. Selfies, although at face-value seem very simple, have serious cultural, personal, psychological and societal ramifications all which have aspects of both good and bad. However, although selfies are commonly branded as an epidemic of egocentrism among youth, it is important to also realize how many benefits they provide.
Selfies provide comfort to many people, including those who feel alone, are seeking a community and want to document their lives and personal progress. Selfies can be used to allow for self-expression, and to build up people’s self-esteem. Not every selfie taken is intended to brag about one’s appearance or flaunt a certain societal standard of beauty.
There are many people in the world who take selfies for the exact opposite reason — to show that being natural, being different and looking however you want to look is completely okay. Selfies have the ability to spread standards of beauty outside those portrayed by Hollywood and models. Selfies give regular, real people a chance to document their faces, their lives and their world.
These seemingly silly photographs can make humans feel valued, important and loved. Selfies are not perfect, but they certainly have a bad reputation that ignores so many of their undeniably valuable aspects.
It is important to realize that selfies, when taken for the right reasons, can do a great deal of good. They also give people a sense of control since they are the one taking their own picture, and nobody else can take that away from them.
Selfies are certainly a hot topic of our time. However, is is valuable not to simply put them down as some foolish cultural trend. We are given only one body, one face and one person to live with as ourselves — what is wrong with celebrating all of it once in a while?