Daily Life, Reflections

Has “Selfie” Culture Gone Too Far?

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



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