Selfies: A Thin Line between Relevant and Vapid

Are selfies vapid and shallow or an art of self-expression? A self-portrait was once a niche artistic practice by artists. One of the most famous and prolific of self-portraitists was Vincent van Gogh, who drew and painted himself more than 43 times between 1886 and 1889. There were many self-portraitists back then which I’m sure some of us remember, Rembrandnt, van Gogh and Picasso. The digital age reinvented the contemporary selfie. According to Gwendolyn Seidman (Prof. of Psychology), research has shown that narcissistic individuals take more solo selfies, but fewer selfies that feature other people. Although narcissism accounts for the most part of the motive, second in line is sharing and connecting followed by functional use, self-esteem, memory, and conformity. Narcissism’s connection to selfie-taking is a small part of a bigger picture.

Image by @hike.sofi

Selfies do offer opportunities like social story-telling and sharing. It’s beneficial for advertisements and promoting whatever you’re selling. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. The ꞌin-person experienceꞌ connection with your followers is useful. Lately, deaths related to selfies have been trending on the internet. The phenomenon is nothing new, but it’s becoming a concern. On July 10th 2021, an influencer lost her footing and plunged to her death. In the same month, a Chinese TikTok star fell to her death from a crane. They were attempting to increase and attract the number of followers and likes which is relevant. Promoting themselves by taking unnecessary risks is another matter. Being impulsive and reckless isn’t worthwhile. Frankly, we’re all probably guilty of taking selfies at least once in our life. Until today, I’m still uncomfortable stretching my arms to photograph myself to some silly extremes. Thankfully, I’m not a big fan of selfies.

Selfies are common for solitary travelers. Besides that, often when we’re on a trip, we have to take a quick picture of an iconic structure or breathtaking scene to save time. A selfie saves time without having many people trying to organize themselves. We have to consider the dangers involved at the scene for our own safety. It’s unsafe to have one hand clinging on to a rock and the other holding your cell to take a selfie with a 300-foot drop below.  For most of us, selfies are just documented memories.

The question of whether selfies are relevant or otherwise remains ambiguous. It has become a part of modern-day living, especially among the youth. The importance of selfies probably depends on the intent and it’s definitely not relevant for grandiose exhibitionism. This leads to the creation of a superficial generation who value their looks more than anything. There’s a possibility that some people who seek to boost their self-esteem might end up being unhappy if they’re not getting much praise or likes online. It will undermine their confidence and image, even worse if they are ridiculed and end up becoming suicidal. Teens can get too caught up in their online presence which tends to be more about gaining status and acceptance. Some celebrities are obsessed with selfies. It’s relevant in making them well-known to boost their image and ratings in the entertainment world. Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner are currently the top two.

Eventually, it’s all about safety, purpose, and remaining unperturbed if there’s a backlash. Haters gonna hate – Catchphrase by Cheeky Kid on Turbo Future.

Chuck is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Author: Chuck

Just a guy who enjoys reading and a dose of jazz everyday.