The perfect angle, the right lighting and to top it off, a signature pose. These are several components that are necessary to attain the “perfect selfie.” With the rise of photo based applications such as Instagram and Snapchat, our society has shifted its focus to a superficial appearance.
The purpose of photos are to capture memories and raw emotions in order for it to be deemed as memorable or art worthy.This is why photos, such as the “V-J (Victory in Japan) Day in Times Square” by Alfred Eisenstaedt, where a sailor and a nurse kiss after the end of World War II, is remembered since it symbolizes the enthusiasm people felt at the end of the war. Selfies, on the other hand, contrast the overall purpose of taking a photo, as it lacks value and meaning.
Selfies are also harmful because now taking photos becomes more of a competition on who has the best selfie, rather than focusing on enjoying an event. With this competition, selfie culture has shown to be harmful to those taking selfies. According to The Guardian, as of Dec. 2015, 22 year old, Jamshaid Khan, died after being hit by the moving train that he was attempting to get a selfie with.
Unfortunately, several cases have been made in 2015 where people had suffered an injury, or even came face-to face with mortality just for attempting to take the perfect selfie. This shows how people will go to extremes just to get a simple “like” on a photo in order to gain attention.
Lastly, selfie culture shows how reliant we are on other’s opinions of ourselves. In fact, in Nov. 2015, Australian Instagram model, Essena O’Neill, announced her retirement from social media in a Youtube video after admitting that her happiness was based on the attention she received on social media. In regards to her announcement, she deleted a large amount of her posts on her Instagram account and recaptioned several photos stating the harsh reality behind those photos.
Overall, this rise of “selfie culture” has become harmful to our society as it teaches people that superficial beauty is the way to gain attention. The fact that people are getting hurt and killed while taking a photo of themselves should serve as a wake up call as to what we should be doing in order to prevent more deaths from occurring within this new year. Instead, we should use our social media towards positive messages, such as promoting self image, and connecting with friends and family. From time to time, we should learn to put down the phone and just enjoy what is actually going on in the world.