In praise of selfies
I think what the selfie has given us is the ability to share about ourselves what we most want the world to see in us. Our best side, best angle, best lighting, best pose, best moment. Our best life, presented in small snippets, bite-size portions of what we wish our life looked like always.
It lays out for an audience our insecurities and greatest confidences. Look at my eyes, they’re my favourite. Or these legs I’ve worked so hard running to achieve. Or this long, long hair, this jawline, my fashion sense or how seductive I look at this angle. I’m thinnest when I do this, my skin is smoothest with this filter, the things you cannot see are carefully smudged over with images we edit and alter till they’re exactly what we want you to see.
It cannot capture spontaneity, or the way we look into the camera when someone else is taking our photo. It leaves behind the uncomfortable, awkward positioning, when you’re not quite sure just how to smile or how squinted your eyes are when there’s someone else behind the lens. There are no secret moments captured, the small beautiful seconds someone else can expose when you’re free of yourself. The magic is removed.
But what the selfie has given us is us. Identity, a chance to be photographed when there is no one else to do it for us. To be a part of the big picture and leave behind proof we were there. I was here.
I think for all the criticism of the selfie, it has given us such a precious insight into one another — a door to see into how others see themselves, a study in us. I think we should embrace it.