Selfies more serious than we think

Regina Ortanez, Arts and features editor

“Selfie” is a word for which no official definition exists.

It is most commonly referred to as the act of taking a photo of oneself, a self-portrait of sorts, where subject and the photographer are one and the same.

Conversely, Urban Dictionary offers many other alternative and considerably less favorable ones, such as, “a ridiculous practice of narcissism.”

But despite the criticism it has been receiving due to its seemingly conceited nature, there’s no denying that it is also an ever increasingly popular trend sweeping across the globe via numerous social media sites, like Instagram.

The popularity of this trend could be attributed to many factors, one of which could just be the prevalence of owning a cell phone with a camera, but in an article from the Times on Sept. 6, 2013, some social scientists claim that it lies in the conceit of our young generation of social media users and that “the self-portraits are an extension of their self-absorption.”

However, it can be argued that the selfie is just a part of what makes our generation is so interesting: our ability to control our image.

There has never been a generation with this amount of control or say in their outward self image which is undeniably amazing.

Selfies are just one of the tools our generation has revolutionized in order to present ourselves in a way that we control. It is our generations way of taking command over how we are perceived. It is both a rejection of the photoshopped and over-styled images that the media uses to show what we should look like and a way to embrace the reality of our self image.

Selfies help us to achieve honesty and self love in a society where we are constantly fed idealistic and doctored images of cultural beauty standards that are near impossible to achieve and told that who we are now isn’t good enough.

“I think we’re collectively rebounding from perfection fatigue. Everyone knows what Photoshop is now,” said Pamela Grossman, the director of visual trends at Getty Images.

“Everyone’s seen the wizard behind the curtain in advertising, in Hollywood,” Grossman continued. “We know how the machine works. And so we’re gravitating toward people, images and experiences that we deem to be authentic, unvarnished and real.”

Taking selfies is not just a way to show the world who you are and what you are doing, it is a way to start a conversation about our society’s beauty standards and whether we choose to accept or reject them.