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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

In defense of the selfie

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Unlike many of my peers, I don’t have an Instagram and I have a Snapchat that I barely use. When I do use Snapchat, my Snaps aren’t usually selfies. Personally, I’m not a fan of taking selfies. I can never get the angle quite right, and honestly it just seems like a lot of effort to produce something even remotely flattering.

I also recognize, however, that they are a valuable way for people who actually enjoy this particular form of self-expression to document their experiences. In fact, they may even be good for your self-esteem.

I recently read about a study that found people could boost their self-image by giving their body a long look in the mirror every time after getting out of the shower.

This supposedly works because you normalize the experience of seeing your body with the routine of checking out your full-frontal self. I can’t say that this works from personal experience, but theoretically, if looking at your body on the daily is good for you, taking images of yourself regularly could offer a similar boost.

I have a lot of friends who are much better at taking selfies than I am and who post them to social media often, and it doesn’t irk me. Good for them, if it makes them feel good to take an attractive photo and get some likes on it. But there is an important distinction to be made between posting a photo of yourself that you like, regardless of any validation you may receive, and posting a photo that doesn’t make you feel good, independent of the response you get. Social media users should try to be aware of whether posting selfies stresses them out and if they’re comparing the number of likes they get to the number of likes other people get on their photos.

So, how do I feel about selfies? I know the knee-jerk reaction for a lot of people, mainly older generations, is accusations of narcissism. Narcissism may play a role in the selfie phenomenon, but I don’t think it’s productive to make sweeping generalizations about the motivations behind taking selfies.

If that’s how you celebrate your body, and if it isn’t a source of negativity in any way, go for it. We all ought to get a little friendlier with our own image.

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