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Our obsession with selfies is not as innocent as it seems

The culture of today is becoming increasingly social media and technologically savvy and we are living in a world in which the “here and now” is of vital importance. The obsession with the “selfie” mirrors the sense of urgency surrounding this and is substantiated by a need to capture even the most mundane events of life.

As the somewhat self explanatory term would imply, a “selfie” is essentially a photo one takes of themselves on their phone and then uploads to social media. People take selfies everywhere they are these days, and so it is particularly useful that the trend has popularized alongside developments in the accessibility of the internet.

While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with photo taking – and it is indeed not something to be shunned or held accountable – the craze speaks of a self indulgent, image focussed culture for which self – validation is highly prized.



Is such a trend innocent in nature or is it narcissistic? Despite being helpless victims of the social media world, participants unknowingly bolster the selfie’s usage, perpetuating the focus on image and appearance.

Researchers have established that partaking in the trend points to low self esteem. This may seem contradictory, but truthfully there is not much reason to engage in excessive selfie – taking other than to update social media and for validation.

The trend is expanding to incorporate taking pictures of anything deemed important to the individual, at any given time. Such an example is “food selfies”. People take a picture of their food as they are eating it – again uploading it to social media.

Photography was an invention that is irreplaceable but occasionally it can be used for the sake of it especially when transmitted online. Selfies of food may be harmless at times but something is wrong if they capture an experience better than atmosphere or conversation.



Selfies such as these potentially ruin the time we have and detract from precious moments. They reduce all experiences to the mundane and ordinary as opposed to being special and meaningful.

It is startling to consider that being “part of the trend” constitutes a mark of self definition when truly healthy self esteem and confidence comes from knowing who you are and being true to yourself. This is the simplest, most straight forward way to feel validated and a person who achieves it will not seek approval externally. Selfies require people to be “snap ready” at all times. This causes people to be obsessed with their appearance, rather than relax and be themselves.

It is, in this sense, a self defeating trend that simply highlights our dependency on external factors as opposed to building inner worth and character.

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About Judith Brown

I did an MA in English literature at Kings College London where I wrote a dissertation on representations of characters with learning difficulties. I am very imaginative and write on a range of topics. I like to read, listen to music and draw.

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