The Yellow Pages

Life's questions completely unexplained

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The Selfie Dilemma

Theme: Vulnerability

Oxford English Dictionary’s world of the year for 2013 was “Selfie“. For those who don’t know what a Selfie is—(this is for you, Grandma, I know you’re reading this)—apparantly it’s a “casual self-portrait, usually taken at arms length with a digital camera or smart-phone”.

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Selfie is said to be the word of my generation: the Millenials—associated with entitlement and narcissism. Y’all know we can’t go 3 seconds without tweeting, snapchating, or posting everything we think online (guilty). We are self-centered and disconnected. And we love to take Selfies.

I’ve never been one to be comfortable in a Selfie. I like to think of myself as an awkward person. I mean, I don’t like to think it, I just think it. So when a friend shoves a backwards iPhone in my face, I try mustering up my best expression that screams: “self-confident right here!”.

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None of the above are my best pictures (though my dog looks flawless). To be honest, it’s embarrassing to even make them public. But to me, this is the exact reason the selfie exists. Wikipedia may ‘argue’ that selfies are used to create a self image that differs from reality, but perhaps they do the exact opposite. They portray us stuck in a moment of spontaneity, absurdity, and vulnerability. Unedited, unposed, unplanned—the selfie gives the world, or the recipients of your snapchats, a view into just how human you really are.

My relationship with selfies has transformed. It started with a reluctant entrance into the world of Snapchat. At first, I’d spend twenty minutes crafting the perfect, awkward facial expression and then send it only to close friends for a max 3 seconds, fearing nothing more than the screen-shot. But soon I began sending longer snaps, snapping to more people, and not caring as much about how I looked in the picture. As time went on, I gained more and more ‘Selfie-confidence‘. (sorry that was really bad I just had to).

Because my goal is always to be as philosophic as possible, I’m going to propose a theory: The more comfortable you are taking Selfie’s, the more comfortable you are with yourself. I know that I am far more self-confident that I was a year ago and as ridiculous and superficial as it sounds, my relationship with Selfies mirrors this. I’ve gone from uncomfortable 3 second Snapchats to gems such as this:

Me doodling taking notes in Neuro1:

I am sure there are those who think differently. Those who will read this post, see all these pictures I took of myself and scoff at the self-centered college kid that I am. Maybe their right, maybe I’m wrong. But If you feel self confident when taking close-ups of your face then all power to you.

There is a fine line between ‘putting yourself out there’ and ‘looking for attention’. I mean, this blog is pretty much a large, ever-changing Selfie—a show of either vulnerability or narcissism, depending how you see it. This dichotomy is the same one that creates this Selfie Dilemma, the same one that makes us self-conscious and scared of what the world may think when we show it our face. I’ve gone from trying my best to show myself as I want the world to see me and frankly, not giving a damn.

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– j

Unanswerable Question: Are Selfies shows of vulnerability or narcissism?

(Me teaching my Grandma about Selfies)