Few weeks ago, I met an old friend of mine in canteen…with a sip of tea she said… “After looking to your selfie…it feels to meet you daily…but looking to you in real…all such feeling vanishes off… ” we all at that breakfast table giggled at this lame comment on my early morning look but the word selfie stuck in my mind.
Do a public image of yours really affects opinion of people about you? That made me curious about “selfie”. I came across papers/articles by social scientists discussing on Selfies on various theoretical and intellectual grounds. Such debates generally term selfie as obsession to self and pseudo individuality.
The basic question is, what selfie is? This actually in itself is big question, potent enough to invite big discourse from social sciences. As of now, selfie is understood as picture of self, taken by self. Surprisingly, I found blogs, messages and mailers suggesting “methods” of taking selfie, electronic market is full of accessories for extending devices to take selfie, even giant corporations and producers of mobile devices are forced invest heavily in developing selfie friendly gadgets. Series of questions flooded my mind when I consciously mull upon the idea/concept/notion of selfie.
There is constant conflict between Society and individual. Society (as a web relationships) always tends to judge an individual against the standards laid as an ideal. For instance, I need to have “acceptable” body shape, or I need to have symmetric and well-groomed face, why!? So that I can get more acceptance in society. My heart do not really bother about all this, but I HAVE TO. Such conflict forces an individual to submit social standards. Acceptance and compliments on selfie shared publically ease this conflict.
The word of caution is that, it ease the conflict, it do not assure acceptance in society. That’s why one may have hundreds of likes on selfie but no one actually calls him/her for celebration because of that selfie. So that selfie is replaced by another selfie which may be comparatively better but that also do not assure acceptance…this cycle goes on…and selfie keeps on getting replaced by another selfie…
Another problem with human societies is that they judge people from things they HAVE and not from things they ARE. If I possess good amount of material property like big car, big house, costly clothes, etc. I would be judged better as compared to a person who may not have all material things which I have. Our image in selfie, contains such obsession of HAVING instead of BEING. Most of selfies are taken in grand fat occasions, where a person is properly (sometimes costly) groomed or where ambiance is glittering/lavish. Such things show cases what “we have” and not “we are”.
That also reminds me of editing tools like crop and filters. These tools are at rescue of psychology to remove “unwanted” things/people/places from your picture. Why we remove such unwanted stuff?? Because we don’t want to be judged or object mockery by single “background” distorting element.
Another sub-trend of selfie is taking selfie with important or significant person. That’s a wow thing…one having selfie with prime minister/president or celebrity will fetch you more likes. The more likes…the more important one feel… is it?? really?? ;) People who hits like button on your selfie with celebrity or selfie with important person (it may also be parents, old friends, teachers, etc) are actually liking “their picture” “with yours”… here also social acceptance through selfie remains dicey.
I don’t have conclusion to make, selfie is not a problem to society but relying on social media or society to validate our own self thorough consciously taken image is a big problem. In life, we don’t require hundreds of likes or comments…we require few people who remains with us not for the things which we HAVE but for the things which we ARE…. Selfies is things which we HAVE it’s not things which we ARE.