One of my high school students calls selfies “selfishes.” How on the money is that. When selfies first came out I thought it was such a great idea. And I take selfies occasionally. A selfie with a great background, like Niagara Falls, can be a wonderful “rememory”, as my son used to say. Of course, asking someone to take your picture in front of Niagara Falls would also make a good “rememory”. And probably be a better photo.
Are we now getting our self-esteem from constantly taking pictures of ourselves and then posting them all over social media so everyone sees and admires us? I am a baby-boomer, raised in a world where we tried to affect change. I wonder when we became culturally narcissistic.
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances.” Quoted from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare.
Is that what selfies are? Are we merely players on the 2015 stage of social media? Do we gauge our popularity via how many ❤ we get on Instagram? How many likes on Facebook or how often we are favorited on Twitter? Is that what I do? Instead of having friends or family take a few pictures of us at an occasion or just hanging out, why do we, in 2015, narcisstically pose for self-inflicted photos?
What I glean from this quote by Shakespeare is that we go through stages of life with each stage’s turmoil and emotions and these are played out by all men and women. I am a far cry from a Shakespearean expert, but have thought of this quote over the years. Selfies seem to me to be a vehicle to mark moments of stagnant action, not moments depicting how individuals evolve or devolve. Selfies usually don’t capture moments of turmoil and the emotions of a given stage of life.
Selfies scream out “Look at me! Admire me! Admire me and my friends! Admire me in this restaurant! Like me! Admire me!”
They capture how we look posing in a moment of time. Teenagers post selfies showing off their make-up or posing in a bathroom with their reflection caught in the mirror day after day. Other teenagers post selfies showing off their muscles or cars or partying selves. Adults take selfies proving that they know what selfies are. They take selfies on vacations and selfies to show how good they still look. No one takes selfies because they look particularly tired or unattractive that day. Adults take selfies with their children and grandchildren, showing off how cute they are.
Narcissism by proxy.