‘Selfies’ – Latest Example of American Narcissism

by Jennifer Kabbany - Fix Editor on May 1, 2013

I first heard the term “selfie” last week, when a friend of mine said to me on Facebook – “You know me, just hanging out, taking selfies.”

Thus the latest social media term entered my vocabulary – selfie.

I finally have a word to describe all those annoying self portraits some people post on social media sites, as if we need to see a different take of their face twice a day on Facebook. Or the barrage of pictures celebs take of themselves for Twitter and Instagram.

Not the selfies meant to be sincerely funny. Not the selfies that convey a political or social message.

I’m talking the conceited, staring-into-the-camera-with-a-sexy-look selfie, or as an Urban Dictionary definition puts it: “you can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera … accompanied by a kissy face (or ducky lips) or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.”

A story on WORLD on Campus Tuesday that featured the “selfie” craze expounded on the trend. It cited several professors who opined on the phenomenon; some dismissed it as self-expression or nothing new.

Nancy Wang Yuen, associate professor of sociology at Biola University, told WORLD that “perhaps in two centuries, people will look back on the selfie not as an act of narcissism, but as a democratized form of self-expression.”

(Um, isn’t a “democratized form of self-expression” sort of narcissistic on its face?)

I liked the take of William Brown, professor of strategic communication and journalism at Regent University, who told WORLD selfies involve a great potential for narcissism among youth.

“I see it as similar to the Facebook feature, ‘What am I thinking now?’” he said. “The question is, ‘Why should anyone care to know?’”

The article was titled “Me, myself, and my selfie” but I liked what one commenter posted: “Me, Myself, and I-dolatry.”

An internet search of “selfies” popped up plenty of hits, including a quote from comedian Chelsea Peretti, who joked “loneliness and desperation for attention are crucial ingredients” for selfies.

column on Huffinging Post, also published Tuesday, points out that “selfies are perhaps the worst thing about social networks. … While each individual user might find each one of their own images fascinating, it’s rare that others do. A social network of narcissists is a really boring one.”

Well, maybe not everyone will find this boring: Twitter offers “Selfies Daily.” I made the mistake of clicking on the link as I researched this article and realized it was just a barrage of women taking pictures of their boobs in the bathroom mirror, with the tagline: “Send your pics in … and keep the men of the world happy!”

(No I am not providing the link, sheesh).

Entertainment Television Online offers an “index” of all the latest and greatest “sexy celebrity selfies” – because I haven’t seen enough photos of Kim Kardashion or Justin Beiber lately.

(OK, I gotta admit, the Conan O’Brien selfie was a bit funny, but that falls under the exception-to-the-rule selfie – done to prompt a chuckle).

And for those who just can’t seem to make themselves look good in their selfies no matter how many pictures they snap – yes – there’s an app for that.

“Sometimes your smartphone snaps don’t make you look that great. Facetune is there for those occasions when you could use some help in the appearance department.”

What’s worse, apparently there’s even things called “Vines” – which are 6-second selfie videos.

Please. Make. It. Stop.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.

CLICK HERE to Like The College Fix on Facebook.

Help The College Fix thrive. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation!
Share this article: