Ehren Joseph Layne

On Selfies – Opinion/Thesis

There is nothing anybody can say to convince me that selfies are about anything other than the selfier (the person taking the selfie – yes we are creating words). To take a selfie is to prioritize yourself over your surroundings, your vanity over your sanity, your perception over your reception; selfies are not tools of self-expression, but rather instruments of self-obsession. As selfies continue to grow in popularity amongst the young and the old, there have been cultural shifts in how people relate themselves to the world and the world to them. Whether a selfie is taken at a memorial site or a famous restaurant, the goal of the selfie is the same: to place oneself in the world and reflect their image upon it. Some might consider this a form of self-expression: for someone to reflect themselves upon the world is for them to take notice of the world and place themselves in a position of reflection, admiration, consideration, appreciation, and expression. This ignores the fact that selfies themselves are, by definition, separate from the world; rather, they exist to make the selfier the world(hence the strained importance on the word “self”). People have injured themselves trying to take selfies – died even – all for the sake of making the world revolve around them. Rather than the appreciation and admiration some would say encapsulate the true nature of the selfie, the injury caused by the selfie provides an alternative narrative: one of self-obsession. People who take selfies are self-obsessed, they care more about outward appearance and recognition for said appearance over inward qualities and the world around them. Tourists who take selfies at various locations are not doing so because they believe said location is of great importance; it’s quite the opposite – they believe that they can take importance away from the location and place themselves in the space created. They are what is most important, they are what matters. Selfies taken at weddings and other forms of public or private celebration are done so to make certain that the selfier is seen; seen by others and, most importantly, seen by themselves. The celebration only matters so much that it allows the selfier to say, “I was here” or “They are with me” or “I did that”. Never is the other recognized in the selfie; however, when the other is emphasized more than the selfier, the other acts to make the selfier seem righteous for giving the other more space to be important. No matter how you spin the selfie and its implications, the selfie always falls back on the self: I matter, I am important – look at me for this is my world, and in my world, nobody else matters besides me.

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