While America’s best and brightest athletes are beginning to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, an entirely different Olympic Game has been flourishing right here at home: The Selfie Olympics. The Internet exploded with selfies like those pictured above. As funny and ridiculous as these “Olympics” are, they’re just one example of how the selfie has permeated our culture.
According to CNN, “selfie” was even Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2013 (Brumfield, 2013). This seems like solid proof of the selfie being mainstream, so then why do people talk about taking selfies with so much shame? The whole concept has helped feed (and been fed by) the popularity of sites and apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. More than that, other companies like Dove are trying to capitalize on the craze as well.
One of Dove’s newest additions to their “Real Beauty” campaign is a viral video praising selfies as a means of celebrating self-esteem. The basic idea of the video is that selfies literally put the power in the user’s hands, allowing them to emphasize or downplay or celebrate whatever they wish. The woman in the film encourages girls not to hide their flaws in their selfies, but rather, to use their agency as their own photographers to embrace and put their perceived imperfections on display. This seems like a very smart move for Dove. Their video flips the stereotype of selfies as a tool of narcissism and self-indulgence on its head.
Dove seems to argue that selfies can be a tool for building self-esteem. However, others argue that selfies do just the opposite. Many have suggested that selfies are a sign of low self-esteem and need for approval from others, especially in an age of social networking. Posting selfies to social media sites have become a way to almost quantify how attractive others find you through the number of likes and comments you get. In this concept, a person’s self-image is either given a positive or negative boost from external forces. This does not match Dove’s idea that selfies promote agency and self-esteem.
Personally, I am fairly pro-selfie, but I absolutely think a person can take too many selfies. But on the whole, I don’t think the selfie craze on the Internet will die anytime soon. What about you, do you think selfies a celebration of self-esteem or a reflection of low self-esteem?
Brumfield, B. (2013, November 20). Selfie named word of the year for 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/living/selfie-word-of-the-year/
Dhruv, N. (2014, January 4). The 26 best selfies from the first annual selfie olympics. Retrieved from http://distractify.com/news/the-best-selfies-from-the-first-annual-selfie-olympics-i-cannot-believe-how-far-people-took-it/
Selfie [Web]. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3agBWqGfRo