Selfie Me

“From where I’m sitting, I AM the centre of the Universe!”

― Sebastyne Young

 

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Andy Warhol was famous for saying that in the future we will all have our 15 minutes of fame. Well my friends the future is now and many people are already famous inside their own heads.

I am talking about that phenomena that’s sweeping the globe:

The Selfie.

selfie gif

A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone, digital camera or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

I see more and more people doing this… MM calls it “selfing”.

And not just adorable little blondes with cutesy pink phones…people from all walks of life, actors, artists, men on the street, ladies of the evening, cats, babies and even presidents and leaders of people.

How did we get so obsessed with our own image?

The first selfies; born out of “necessity” for most of us.  Since the advent of social media and as more and more of us are becoming social online we need a profile pic.  It’s not something anyone really planned, it sort of just happened. We could blame Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook who thought of the world as one big yearbook with a sea of faces with which one could compare against each other and judge.  The selfie does predate Facebook and MySpace, where the term was first generally used.  Taking a photograph of oneself started with the invention of photography. It has only been lately that it has become an obsession for some, a joke to others. Whatever it is–it has become a part of our social landscape and our common global culture.

I am mysterious and sily
I am mysterious and silly and my table is messy.

Speaking for myself; I took my first one in the Autumn of 2012. I “needed” an updated Gravatar for this very same blog.  I was hesitant to ask anyone to take my picture because it sounded so weird and self-indulgent. ( Of course I am not one of those people.)  I snapped a few shots myself with my webcam, it was so easy. We are humans and social media is a place of social interaction between us.  Our faces convey so much to each other, so much emotion, feeling.  Many of our electronic communications are littered with emoticons.   Mere words cannot give the entire picture.

I am human
I am human

We have a need for each other.  A need to meet others to express thoughts and ideas. To be understood. To reach out and make that connection. To share ourselves with others.  Running the gambit of emotions; happiness to sadness and back again… from the amazing to the mundane.  We have a need to belong and to be looked upon favorably by our peers.   Selfies can be fun.  Some are very inventive and creative.  I don’t think they are necessarily a bad thing or a sign of the moral decay of our civilization and subsequent doom. I think they can be empowering for people and a way to boost self esteem.  There are  groups that embrace the idea of the selfie and encourage people to submit their own self portraits 365 days a year.  I have explored some of the submitted images. Some of it is quite artistic; there are talented photographers out there snapping pics of themselves every day.

Whoo-hoo!
Whoo-hoo!

The internet has put so much of our lives on display for one another. This puts the viewer of such display in the judges seat. It is tempting for anyone to judge given some of what we see and it’s easy to assume some find themselves on the short end of the comparison.  People’s opinions of each other unfortunately are swayed by appearance; the appearance of wealth, youth and good looks…the appearance of happiness….no one wants to look like a loser, or old or fat or bald or whatever.   Simply put, we care what other think about us and this very human truism is being played out on a grand scale throughout the digital world.

We call them selfies, we take them of ourselves but do they truly reflect our real selves?  I have seen quite a few of them and rarely are they realistic.

 

I Work out!

The selfie is a way for many to become the self they have always wanted to be.  I googled “selfie fails” and found a plethora of examples of Photoshop gone wrong. Men and women with obviously unrealistic bodies and faces, freakishly thin waists, bulging chests and completely unlined faces.   The pull is strong to want to doctor ones photos. I myself I am guilty of erasing a line or two here and there.  Who doesn’t want to be younger; to look 25 again? Who doesn’t want the perfect body and the perfect life?  We see them all the time…these people with the perfect everything.

The perfection hype we buy into is sold to us by the media.  The Joneses we are struggling to keeping up with don’t even exist.

The perfect job, mate and kids, the perfect parties and friends. These people go on exciting and exotic vacations with all the other beautiful people living perfect lives. We know this because we see it in their selfies. The ones they are nice enough to share with us so we can “like” them and comment; tell them how wonderful they are and how young they really do look. All accompanied by smiley faces and hearts.

o-WOMAN-SELFIE-570
LOVE ME!!!

 

Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?

Andy Warhol
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And we like them every time they put up a new one, every week even if it’s every day. Some people change theirs constantly; living a life in front of the tiny screen. Every minor event documented and accompanied by the same needy almost pleading stare. Just like anything else selfies can be addictive and perhaps that in itself is a sign of trouble–a cry for help.

sexy- selfie  -fails-chocolate-sauce
Watch out ladies it’s “Hot” Chocolate!

I also saw some other types of selfies on my googling adventure into this odd and narcissistic world. There were the funny ones, the amazing ones, the clever and cute ones, the silly duck faces and the ones with the bizarre backgrounds. But there were some sad ones as well. I was stricken by the number of photos taken by women, apparently mothers in bathrooms and other places with big mirrors posing for suggestive selfies in front of their small children.

...help
…help

I am a bit naive but this shocked me. It came off as desperate, so sad and lonely. And then I began to look at all the selfies in a different  light. Maybe they are not  just a sign of our collective narcissism and self-obsession, maybe there is something deeper; an underlying anxiety of separation, a feeling we are losing ourselves, the dissolution of the family unit. We are spending longer hours in the office, on the road, increasingly we are spending more and more time apart from each other.

Like me!
Like me!

We need to be accepted and understood. We need to be connected and have others think well of us.  Unfortunately this need to be liked and accepted maybe envied or idolized has become an obsession for some.

And maybe…just maybe, if we can have the perfect selfie we can get a little piece of that perfect life too…

As with everything else; nothing is all black or white…

…points to ponder…

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 Have yourself a wonderful day!

Nancy

 

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 “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

~Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean Baker in 1946, photographed by Andre de Dienes.
Norma Jean Baker in 1946, photographed by Andre de Dienes.
Related articles and items of interest

 

365 Days The Challenge: Take one self portrait each day for a year.   (Fickr group)

 

The selfie  (wikipedia.org)

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THE SELFIE SYNDROME (feeldesain.com)

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 Scientists link selfies to narcissism, addiction and mental illness  (trueactivist.com)

The Neon Cheesy Dust of Self Importance

ego photo credit carolina engman in public domain
Say “CHEESE”

It all started with an idea. A grandiose crazy idea, some of which I am about to tell you, most of it I must keep to myself for now but suffice to say it will be my first big move into the fast paced grown-up world of freelance writing.

So I got this idea; a flash of brilliance that almost blinded my cat Mario. I was so excited by this that I started to jump up and down and instantly without thinking, I plunged my dainty hand straight into a bag of Doritos and started to consume it’s overly cheesy contents. I am a mom and I preach ad nauseam against this sort of activity but there I was munching away; my eyes ablaze waiting for MM to come through the door and then suddenly: there he was, and there I was, and then I just blurted it out: “I want you to be my manager.” I managed to stammer, eyes wide, mouth full of chips. “You’d do what you’re doing now except that you could call yourself my manager…of course, I couldn’t pay you” I added sheepishly.

As you may have guessed; he jumped at the chance!  So there we were jumping up and down like lunatics in the kitchen. By then Mario, my famous cat, had darted out of the room, but we didn’t care. We were hugging and I was getting neon cheesy dust on his back and I didn’t care and he didn’t know, but that’s OK–I do all the laundry. It was an amazing moment for both of us…

… It is also amazing how a person can pump themselves up with a basically unearned  and certainly at this moment in time, worthless highfalutin title. Just like that.  It is at these moments that I am proud to be an American!

american cheese public-domain-american-way-

And that reminds me…did you know that Americans are the most narcissistic people in the world? Well…I bet you knew that but did you know that I am NOT one of these narcissistic Americans?  HA!  I bet you didn’t know THAT! Yes, it’s true. I was a bit curious about the subject so I started reading a book on narcissism; its fascinating stuff. The book contains a short test which I took, and to my surprise and embarrassment; I scored pretty low…so low that I think I may suffer from low self-esteem with a shot of delusional over-thinking and obvious long-windedness. Apparently just thinking I may be narcissistic may disqualify me.  Well I guess I still have some work to do….

…but now I have a manager and a goal…it’s nothing to choke on your Dorito over, but it’s a start.

Wishing you a fantastic day full of big dreams and junky neon cheese!

Strawberryindigo.

DORITOS_NACHO_CHEESE__Flavored_Tortilla_Chips in public domain

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Narcissism Personality Disorder Traits (mayoclinic.com)

Narcissism Test (personality-testing.info)

How Narcissism Can Be Good for You (psychologytoday.com)

What’s Really In Nacho Cheese Doritos (eatthis.menshealth.com)