The Selfie

I know. This is the type of “photography” that older generations associate with Millennials’ constant need to satisfy the ego (and granted, some people need Hamilton tow trucks to haul their ego around … but they’re not all Millennials); it’s perceived as the ultimate act of vanity, as you take a picture of yourself, and post it on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, so that your friends can “like” it, and tell you how beautiful your are, etc, etc. And other generations think that that is weak and pathetic and selfish. And maybe it is, a bit. I’m not a big selfie-taker myself (although I do have a very soft spot in my hear for Snapchat and its filters). However, I think it’s important to talk about this phenomenon as an indicator of how this generation feels in society, and how  technology and expectations oh beauty have come together to create this trend.

I don’t believe that youth has ever been more bombarded by the media with so many absolutely unrealistic expectations about beauty (and other things, but man, this post doesn’t have room). We’re told (I include myself in that pronoun because I’m a Millennial) that we’re whiny and that we don’t work hard-enough and that we’re entitled. So basically we are a plague with which the rest of society has been burdened. Nice. But then, they dare to tell us that we also have to be beautiful. So completely picture perfect. And I’m not saying that generations before us haven’t dealt with this kind of pressure, because of course they have! Women, especially, have always had to deal with unfair media expectations.

I’m just saying that there is just so much media today. It’s a constant bombardment telling us first that we don’t work hard-enough, and then that we’re not beautiful-enough. So can you blame people for wanting a little bit of positive reinforcement from their friends? Can you really fault a generation of people who have had to get used to being told how flawed we are for wanting to feel beautiful? And sometimes I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes I’ll look at someone’s feed or page or whatever and think man, that person’s got way too many selfies; get over yourself. But you know what, that’s not fair. People should celebrate themselves. We are all beautiful and unique and if we want to share that with our friends and with the world, so be it!

Hell, people have always been vain! Thousands of years ago, if you were rich-enough, you could get a whole damn statue made in your likeness. And look and Medieval paintings and Renaissance portraits, in which people would actually insert themselves into mythological and religious scenes! I doubt any of the Medici were at the birth of Christ, but their commissioned art says otherwise. May seem like I’m getting a bit off topic, but all I’m saying is that selfies are just this generation’s unique way of expressing themselves to the world, of saying yes, we’re here, and we like ourselves. And you know what else? You know another reason we take selfies? ‘Cause they’re fun. And that’s okay.

So to other generations who would tell us that we are too self-obsessed, I’ll send along this post. But first … lemme take a selfie.