Did I miss something? When did it become socially acceptable to take photos of oneself, for no particular reason, on any given day, and share it with, like, everyone...in the world. And even more perplexing, when did the word 'selfie' join the list of generally acceptable terms to use in our mainstream lexicon. Never mind the horror of seeing someone as tough and revered as Hillary Clinton pull a 'selfie' (note to 'selfie' - you aren't in the dictionary yet, so the quotes stay).
According to Wikipedia, the term 'selfie' was first popularised by photographer Jim Krause in the mid-2000's (okay, so I'm way behind). The word has even come as far as making it onto Time Magazine's list of 'top 10 buzzwords' in 2012 (still a bit behind here). Wikipedia goes on to say that the appeal of a 'selfie' is in how 'easy it is to create and share' (Weak. It's easy to create and share a crayon picture of a rainbow, but not seeing a lot of them from the Kardashian clan)
A quick search on Instagram finds a stunning 28,546,038 posts with the hashtag 'selfie' (nearly twice the population of, say, Ecuador) and in case that's too banal, you can find #selfiesunday, #selfiesaturday, #selfienation, #selfieaddict, #selfie101 (you get the 'picture').
You can also find some great tips on how to take a good 'selfie' - apparently according to Boston-based plastic surgeon Jeffrey Spiegel - "If you have bad skin or scars that you don't want to highlight, light coming straight at you from the front will wash all that out." (USA Weekend, 20 June 2013) Who knew, right?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we fear losing our 'real' or physical selves to social media. Perhaps it's like a desperate attempt to say 'hi, it's me' and 'don't worry, it's not a robot writing this message, I'm a person!' or for celebrities 'proof' that they post themselves and it's not their assistants and publicists doing the tweeting (well, it is, but you get the point). Even more comforting or cringeworthy (depending on your perspective) is that the 'selfie' helps show that celebrities are 'goofy', 'funny', 'normal'... just like your BFF.
Maybe I'm being too hard on 'selfie'-lovers or maybe I'm even downright jealous (damn right I am - have you seen the dozens of 'selfies' from Kelly Brook; how does she look so good...always...although I hear she's already on a 'selfie-diet'). There is probably one day a month, at best, when I feel fresh and ready for my 'self-up'. And in all fairness to the celebs out there addicted to the 'selfie' it's often a way to take control of their own image. Kim Kardashian took a lot of heat for the weight she gained during pregnancy so good on her for the bikini 'selfie' that found its way out into the media days before North's birth ('North' a blog for another day).
The truth is, social media is rewriting the book on how we present ourselves to the world, in some ways good, in others bad. Much hair-raisingly cringeworthy. Anyone who saw the viral video of the 'flash mob' wedding this week knows this when they saw grandma scrambling out of the church. But over-consumers, don't you fear, there will be a book for that; and a new celebrity show called 'Selfie Rehab: Celebs Face the Mirror Not the Smart Phone' - watch this space.Suggest a correction