Daily Life, Musings of sorts

Has “Selfie” Culture Gone Too Far?

October 3, 2016

One thing I noticed on my recent trip to Vietnam was that the “selfie” has gone too far. People were taking them EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE. What happened to people taking good old-fashioned photos of them actually doing stuff? Sightseeing, that sort of thing. I’m not sure if The Selfie is more prevalent in Asia, or if it was on my radar. Nowhere was safe, from the selfie sticks on the plane, to waiting at the airport, to exhibit A, the girl with the tripod on the beach (above) with a self run 45-minute photo shoot. In our lush resort in Phu Quoc Island, we saw girls scrambling around in the garden in swimwear dangling off palm trees, to try and capture the perfect selfie.  First of all, I would like to state, that I’m ethically a bit torn about adding this image above. I don’t know who the selfie girl is. No I don’t. But the girl in question was in the middle of a public beach, in the middle of the day, with tripod, trying to capture the perfect selfie for around 45 minutes. The beach wasn’t empty and was full of tourists, so I post this snap knowing that I took it in a VERY public place. 

I digress a little, so back to the selfie. Relatively a new phenomenon,  the word selfie is in the dictionary now. It means:

  1. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media

Research shows that the average young person these days will take more than 25,000 photos of themselves in their lifetime. Over 1 million selfies are taken by 18-24 year olds per day, and over 58 million images are tagged with #selfie on Instagram. What do they do with all that data I wonder? Let’s face it. I was kind of excited too getting a smartphone. You can take a photo of the cool shit you’re doing, instantly upload it, create a memory, and then share it on social media right away. Exciting for a blogging, oversharing, travelling type like myself. But are close-ups of our faces really creating memories of the things we experience?  Will we be reminded of where we are, what we did, what we felt that day? Or is it a self criticising prophecy. Are we looking at lines, wrinkles, outfits, before we post them, how skinny we look, and who might see it, rather than how we felt that day?

Why are we obsessed with taking perfect photos of ourselves and sharing them?

No longer like a roll of film, which was really a lucky dip where you would get one, maybe two great shots of yourself, the selfie can be edited right away. A great angle. A great filter. A skinny arm. There is even a re-touching app you can get now to get rid of wrinkles and make your face look skinnier. Then, the perfect image is posted and shared. We can control what others see of us, and delete any unflattering images so no one will ever find them. Now, it is not only what we are seeing in magazines, but also Instagram, and social media that are all fake too. Even normal looking people are turned into celebrities.

Envy is rife, and perfection is unobtainable.

How can we attain to reach something that isn’t real?

That won’t ever be real.

Me? What do I want to see?

I want to see actual experiences in your social media photos. Travel to faraway lands. The sauce on your face after a delicious meal. The sweat on your brow after walking up a huge hill. Not a perfect close up of someone’s face. I want to see the B photos that wouldn’t make the album. The messiness that is life, and the journey that makes those perfect photos when you get them, so worthwhile.

Oh and your cats, I always want to see your cats.

Ashleigh XXX

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT



You Might Also Like

  • Yay for B photos and CATS!!!!

  • I wonder if things will take a turn and there will be a selfie revolt? My selfie game is not strong (I usually cut part of my head off or end up with multiple chins). I was surprised recently when I was sitting at a cafe next to a mum trying to take a photo of herself and her baby. I offered to take the photo for her but she declined and kept taking selfies instead. I don’t think I’m that dodgy looking, surely?!

    • No you are not. But there is an angle! Up high and down is much more flattering than someone taking a front on!

  • I don’t really mind. If a woman spends 45 mins on a selfie shoot, maybe she has a reason? DIY portfolios? Great snap for her long distance lover? Wants some beautiful shots to admire when she’s old and grey? It’s not the worst thing she could do. There are bloggers/social media moguls out there getting massive props from fans for toilet selfies. THAT is where selfie culture goes to far, IMO.

    • True true. I guess i just NOTICED it more in Asia. She is probably making millions! There are toilet selfies?? What???

  • Yes! The selfie culture is now insane with young people (and older to be fair but mostly young!). I do actually notice that it is very prevalent with people in the Asian culture, even in NZ I see them take more selfies than anyone but prior to that they were very well known for being the tourists taking the most photos and love to document everything 🙂

  • I think back to the 90s, when I had a non-digital camera, and I realise that I pointed that camera towards myself a lot, too. I have plenty of badly developed, under-exposed actual printed photos in shoeboxes from my teen years that show me holding the camera and just hoping I’ve captured myself in it in front of a view or a site, and I love them just as much as the general scenery and people shots. I think all that’s really changed is that digital has meant we can take more of them and pick ‘the best’ instead of just taking one and hoping it turns out all right.
    If people want to take selfies, good for them. If they don’t, good for them.

  • She spent 45 minutes photographing herself at the beach?!! In that time I would have had a walk and a swim. It is a strange world we live in now. I pity the young. Will they ever find true happiness? Nothing good can come from gazing at yourself all day.

  • Hmmm, it’s an interesting question. For me personally, I don’t really take many selfies, and when I do take them I feel really self conscious doing it if I’m in public, but nobody else seems to care. I think the occasional selfie is great, especially if you’re somewhere really cool, but in those instances I’m always trying to make my face the smallest part of the photos so that you can actually see where I am and what I’ve been doing. What bugs me is people like my sister who, everywhere they go they have to take a selfie of themselves with every person at the event they’re attending and then upload 30-40 selfies to FB. You don’t see any photos of the actual event or where they are, just poorly lit and often blurry photos of them with one person after another. Why? Especially when you hang out with the same people week in, week out. I have a real problem with that. But a nice selfie, well-lit, with plenty of background so you can see where they are and what they are up to, I don’t mind those. When I’m out and about and I see people taking selfies I often offer to take the picture for them, knowing the quality of the image is going to be much better if it’s taken with the back camera rather than the front one and I’m always surprised by how many people decline. Why would you not want a better quality photo with some background to document the experience?

    • I feel really self conscious too Kylie!

    • Agree. Agree. Agree. I want to see background shit! Like where you actually are! Not just your faces. You are the same as my husband! He is a photographer too, and when people say no, they would rather take them themselves I feel like shouting “don’t you know who you are saying no to?” he he he.

  • I think it’s gone a bit too far these days. I know on Instagram if anyone I follow posts too many selfies, I’m unfollowing! A few every now and then is fine, but with the younger generation (man, I feel old) it’s like a hobby isn’t it.

  • Not a massive fan of the selfie as such, but it does make me happy to see people taking selfies, as a memory keeper. I do think the whole posing for 45 minutes trying to get the right shot, takes away from what I think the idea of it all is.

  • I’m not a big selfie taker. The one in my avatar there is one I took a month or so ago before going to Problogger because I still had blonde hair in my old one from two years earlier and I was worried no one would recognise me.

  • baha cats!! LOL. I feel awkward taking a selfie and have often tried to take one in the car when I’m a passenger and I’ve gone to see if other drivers are watching me take my selfie. We are in a visual driven world unfortunately. I think we have to ask ourselves why we take selfies (or so many) and what message are we trying to send out to the world.

  • Oh my gosh! What’s a bet selfie girl is a blogger? Lol. That definitely is taken things a bit far!

  • LydiaCLee

    I am not a selfie taker, and I don’t really get them but I also get I’m odd in that way. Travel destinations are now picked in preference of the most instagrammable (seriously, there was a study and culture & history came in 5th on the list of reasons). So people choose to travel with the selfie in mind. I worry about what it all means and where it’s all heading (and do you ever really Look at them again after you post it?) But then I take ‘art’ series with my phone and they’re probably amusing no one else but myself so who am I to judge? Is my #haunted2016 less egotistical and no more a waste of time than a selfie on a beach? As for the girl, I wouldn’t have posted it but again, I may be old school in that – her face is partially covered so that makes it a little better…I probably would have asked her first. I do that sometimes and most people don’t even ask to see the photo, they just say ‘go for it’.
    Interesting observations though. Lots to think about. I think a lot about what our online world is doing to our real life relationships.

  • I love this! I do think it’s gone a bit far. I’m all for taking a photo of yourself, but some people have a constant stream of selfies and not much else. I love to get an insight into people’s lives, because I’m nosy and it’s fun. If they have a feed of just their face, there’s only so many times I can like or comment on it, and it certainly doesn’t excite me. That being said, my last Instagram picture was a selfie hahaha! I’m so scared of posting them!
    Great post, and maybe even a little brave!

    Tina x http://www.teaisfortina.co.uk / instagram.com/teaisfortina