From the time it took me to walk from my sociology class to the bookstore — no more than 200 feet — I witnessed the taking of 11 selfies. Most of us, if we aren’t active participants, are at least aware of this craze that has captivated society with the increase of social media use in recent years.
The word “selfie” became Oxford Dictionaries’ 2013 word of the year after its use increased by 17,000 percent, according to an article in Express. Every celebrity from Roger Federer to Miley Cyrus seems to have snapped a quick solo picture at some moment or another, and don’t forget the selfies of Pope Francis and President Obama, both of which were wildly shared on various social media sites. It seems as though everyone has caved in to this addicting trend at least once.
I admit, when I see a photo of someone making the seemingly inescapable “duck face” expression, I have to suppress an eye roll (especially if the photo is paired with an unrelated, inspirational quote). But when I really think about it, a selfie is nothing more than public declaration that says, “I feel good right now, and I want everyone to know it.”
While I don’t feel that people should rely on the validation of others, some selfies I have seen seem to reveal an underlying confidence. A “pre-workout” selfie or one that shows off the “outfit of the day” seems random, but I can respect that the person in the photo was feeling good about themselves in that moment.
Selfies allow each individual to choose how he or she wants to be portrayed to the public, usually in a positive way, and that’s kind of a powerful thing. In a time where the media arguably pressures people to look, dress, act or feel a certain way, being able to take a photo where you feel your best is somewhat liberating. Maybe we should celebrate that.
While I don’t plan on flooding my Instagram account with selfies, I recognize that they aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They may be a little annoying; but if they reflect a positive moment in someone else’s life, more power to them.