The History of the Selfie


If you can remember a time before phones were portable, camera-less, and the word “apple” was still just a piece of fruit, you’re about to get hit by a major wave of nostalgia.

We live in the age of the selfie. A fast self-portrait, made with most likely with the front screen of a smartphone’s camera and immediately distributed and shot out into the Snapchat and Instagram feed everywhere, is an instant visual communication of where we are, what we’re doing, who we think we are, and who we think is watching.

If you were to search #selfie on Instagram, you would find 254,589,830 posts (a number already far outdated, as it grows by the second). This worldwide phenomenon is spreading faster than the hype of this awful presidential election. The question, however, is, how long will the trend last?

Personally, every time I take a picture when I accidentally left the sound on, I automatically feel as though everyone is judging me. Especially with selfies, if you post them, you are just looking for likes, and if you don’t post them, you are insecure. No one wins.

Selfies have changed aspects of social interaction, body language, self-awareness, privacy, and humor, altering temporality, irony, and public behavior. There’s the high angle photo, awkwardly featuring the taker’s arm. There’s the mirror self-portrait. There are posed selfies, with Bambi-eyes and pouting lips. And there are group selfies, even dodging a stranger’s kind offer to take the same photo.

Some people believe selfies are not expressions of pride, but just calls of affirmation. It seems to these people that someone who posts a selfie is just asking to be called beautiful or stunning. Selfies could actually lead to a lower self-esteem in women because we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that the only way to know you are pretty is if other people tell you. If no one comments or likes a selfie fast enough, it makes you wonder if you were wrong and you actually did not look good in the selfie. Ugh, real world problem, right?

Bottom line. Selfies make you seem self-absorbed. Loving yourself is awesome, and necessary. But if you think people care about the subtle differences between your Monday makeup and Wednesday makeup, you’re delusional. Oh, and another thing. Your duck face is going to get you mocked. Do you really want to see yourself in a slideshow of the most ridiculous selfies? Is that what it’s going to take to get through to you? Don’t let it come to that. You’ll regret it.

Personally, I think if you look good and you want to show the whole wide world, then you take that selfie. None of us should care how many likes or comments one get on a post. We all post selfies because we thought we looked great, and want everyone else to know it. If they don’t realize how great you looked, well, who cares?

One thing you should know, selfies are never accidental: Whether carefully staged or completely casual, any selfie that you see had to be approved by the sender before being embedded into a network.

Naked selfies are most commonly criticized not for their potential risks, but for their associations with vanity and narcissism. Selfie-ism is everywhere. The word “selfie” has been bandied about so much in the past six months it’s currently being monitored for inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary Online. At the end of the day, At the end of the day it’s my face and body, and if I choose to put it online that’s up to me, but I also have to take the blame if they fall into the wrong hands. I’d never post anything I wouldn’t want printed and sent to my aunts and uncles.