If we are known as any kind of generation, our generation, the ones who share our food on Instagram and tweet each time we use the toilet, would be known as the selfie generation.
We’re known to love a selfie so much that there’s been a song released in ode to the self photograph, there are tshirts on sale with the phrase scrawled across them and it’s become common practise to snap a picture of your face whilst you’re on the bus/train/before you’re going out/on the toilet. In fact, if you head over to Instagram and search the term #selfie, you’ll be greeted by a plethora of posing faces and pouts a plenty. You may even happen upon someone who missed the “selfie memo” completely and seem to think that ANY photo taken of them, whether it by their mum, the woman who works at Tesco or some kind of CCTV is a “selfie”.
Back in’t day (and I’m talking way before my gran was born) if you wanted a picture of yourself a good old portrait would be the norm. The subject would be expected to pose until their bum got numb to eventually be hung in a gilded frame the weight of four elephants within some great hall or another, and good old Van Gogh even painted a self portrait of himself sans le ear in the name of artist representation. Who’d have thought that a century or so down the line these self portraits would be instant and there’d be not a pad of paper or pencil in sight.
The non selfie generation and those who don’t live and breathe social media don’t seem to understand this need to capture an image of ones face on such a regular occurrence (when your eyebrows are on fleek, when you’re waiting for your Starbz… because in the words of Billie Piper, YOU WANT TO). Parents and peers may question the necessity for a camera roll full of almost identical faces (bar a slightly more relaxed muscle on the left side of the pout) and they’d be correct.
When you step away from what we deem acceptable daily behaviour, the selfie craze could be seen as being a little bizarre, self indulgent and perhaps even attention seeking? But we’re (almost) all guilty of it. It’s not just us “normal folk” who have fallen victim to the selfie craze, even celebs can’t help but get in on a bit of selfie snapping.
Former Pussycat Doll and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger hit the news recently after another very public split from racing star Lewis Hamilton. Incase you didn’t know, the pair have indulged in an on off relationship over the course of the last few years which has had more ups n downs than the Big One at Blackpool. Following their latest split she jetted off to Venice for a singles holiday (girl after my own heart there Nic) and her Instagram feed soon became flooded with flawless selfies of the “Dontcha!” beauty. Because that’s what Instagram is for, selfies and food, right?
When newly single Nicole was recently asked by a magazine about her break up advice she said:
“For anyone going through a hard time, you feel broken. It’s about piecing yourself together and just focusing on you. Working on yourself, getting whole, getting strong, taking care of yourself, loving yourself, finding self-acceptance. Finding your worth again, whatever that is – take some selfies in good lighting, put cute contouring on your face, take some Instagram pics, have a margarita, whatever it takes to boost your self-esteem.”
Love em or hate em, I’m a member of the “what’s the issue with taking selfies?” camp, although I really do like the idea of a margarita and some cute contouring, but how does break up selfies work IRL?
Let me tell ya.
When I split with my ex he would be very vocal about me never being able to find somebody else if I ever deigned to leave him and during arguments would pick at my looks. By the time I was single again I found myself feeling self concious and critical of my appearance because he had been chipping away my self confidence over such a long period of time. I just didn’t like what I saw in the mirror and would find myself thinking “OMG how will I find somebody else?” Post break up I found a new lease of life. I began to find my own identity again, discovered a new sense of style and whether it was culmination of being free of quite a destructive relationship and this lease of life, I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin. For the first time in so long I began to like what I saw in the mirror, or my front facing camera. I realised that before I could find somebody else I needed to love me. Ever heard the song “Vanity” by Christina Aguilera? Well that became my theme song.
Yeah, I may have come across as self indulgent at times or raised some eyebrows during an impromptu train selfie shoot but as my Instagram and Twitter followers grew, so did my confidence. I don’t know about Nicole, because you never really know what goes on behind closed doors (least not the doors of a super celeb) but for me, this wasn’t just about me knowing I had “it” again, whatever “it” is, to a degree I found each new compliment or like as a bit of a fuck you to the person who had picked at those exact things.
There’s a preconception that this train of thought may make me vain or shallow, as though I would base my self worth on the amount of Instagram likes I harvested off of the back of a pose and click photograph but in fact this new found self confidence came off of the back of changes in career, lifestyle and doing something that I felt passionate about. Surrounding myself with friends, love and positivity – this all contributed towards this new outlook.
Yes, there may be something a little attention seeking when it comes to selfies but sometimes there can be so much more than meets the eye, or in this case, camera lens and filter.
If you hadn’t seen, I was recently featured in Look Magazine as part of a debate over the “Break Up Selfie”. I of course was on the “YES!” team.