Selfies & the self #MicroblogMondays

Selfies are, by definition, an indulgence. Some call them an exercise in narcissism while others defend it as a way to validate their existence and probably, a way to make themselves feel better.

Selfies & the self

So, are selfies a sign of ย a disturbed mind or merely a restless one? And I don’t mean the latter in a negative sense, necessarily. It could just mean that you’re more open to change.

Earlier this week, my daughter flipped through my camera roll on my smartphone and nonchalantly remarked that I appear to take selfies whenever I travel. There wasn’t any accusation in the tone; merely observation. I’m no expert in the number of selfies it takes to qualify as a disorder but I felt a pang of guilt. So I went back and changed my profile picture on Facebook- to a non-selfie version.

But today, as I was scrolling through my albums and seeing all those digital versions of my family, an interesting thing struck me. In all the photos I had taken of my daughter, I didn’t exist. I was always behind the camera, capturing the moment. The ones where I was with her, were in those smiling selfies we had snapped together. And I smiled, because in those completely affirming moments, we are grinning like there’s no tomorrow: me & her, together, in the same frame.

We’re a very strange species right now. Whatever we do, we’re examined under the microscopic lens that is social media and society. I get that it takes all opinions to make a village but sometimes (perhaps all the time) what matters is listening to your heart and doing what you think is right.

Do you take selfies?ย 

What’s your take on the subject?


44 thoughts on “Selfies & the self #MicroblogMondays

  1. Back in the days of cameras and film, usually only used (in my family at least) when we travelled, my father always used to say that we had to have a person in the photo to make it personal. Your travel selfies are really just an extension of that, surely?

  2. Oh dear! This is something I’m so terrible at. All the selfies I take come out worse than those passport photos. But you are right – I’m hardly there in any of our pictures ever.

    1. I sometimes wish I didn’t have a smartphone. I feel positively less smarter these days. But, flip side, I have these memories. So guess that’s the balance
      So happy to see you here, Cyn!

  3. I don’t take selfies, and therefore there are very few images of me. But I did recently take one with my guinea pig. We were lying on the floor and my head was next to his. And so I told him we were going to take a selfie. He was unamused but looked at the phone and only walked away once.

  4. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always preferred to be ‘behind the camera’ than in front of it. I still find the ‘selfies’ awkward – but yes, sometimes you’re forced to take them or remain excluded ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. And you do a mighty fine job from behind the camera too ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually don’t mind either, to be honest. In fact, thanks to selfies, I actually have more snaps of mine now ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I feel like it has been ages since I first heard the word Selfie, so no, I do not believe its a passing fad. Taking a selfie is a good way to not lose yourself out from a perfect moment. But it has become frustrating lately. You are bored, take a selfie! This angle, that angle, from the top, from the side, pout once, wink twice. Looking great? Take more selfies. It is so much over done that it just lost its point. But nonetheless, they are a great way to be in a photograph all together, when there is no one else to take your picture. Personally, I have become wary of taking pictures lately. It strikes me as self-obsessive while I admit I was guilty of it all 2 years ago.

    1. I suppose that’s true. I don’t do the pouting and angular selfies myself and it can get a bit creepy when you go out and see people posing all the time, into their phones. But, at home, among family, it’s still fine. I guess.

  6. I do take selfies but try to balance what I post with lots of pictures of many other things. I think there is an unhealthy selfie obsession with the teenage population and I try to express this to my son, but my protestation falls on deaf ears. I think selfies can be fun and mostly I use them as other have described, to be included in whatever event I am participating in with family or friends.

    1. Oh I like that! Balance. Anything with balance in it gets my vote ๐Ÿ™‚ I am a tad worried about the teen phase and how it’s going to impact my child.Sigh. Here’s hoping that things will be manageable especially given peer pressure.

  7. I am not a selfie enthusiast (if that’s a word). I love pictures, I love clicking them and I also love being a part of the picture and getting the whole background in there.
    I get your point, When no one is around and there is a need to capture that special moment, a selfie comes to rescue. Maybe we are being too hard on ourselves. Maybe it’s just a phase? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good one for a microblog, Shailaja. I love this format.

    1. Maybe it is just a phase. Who knows? With social media, one can never be certain about anything these days. Thanks for the format appreciation, Parul. And you take lovely pictures, by the way!

  8. I am not a selfie pic taker at all and prefer to remain behind the camera. I guess I’m self conscious and seeing my photos just reminds me that I’m getting older. I don’t need photos to remind me of that as well as various aches and pains that crop up now and then with the aging process.

    Yesterday I didn’t even want to put on shorts and show my varicose veins. Hubs agreed that he doesn’t like my legs much and that made me even more upset and self conscious. I’m not a vain person at all but that hurt that he said that. Husbands should learn the rule that you never agree with the wife when she complains about a body part she doesn’t like. He stuck his foot in his mouth that time. Sorry to ramble on so much. Guess the selfie topic touched a nerve. I have to practice self love daily and the hubs doesn’t help one bit in that area!

    People do get carried away with the whole selfie pic taking, don’t they? Read some article about a place in Mumbai where they have a warning sign not to take selfies since so many people have fallen to their death. EEK! People take awful risks all in the name of selfies falling off cliffs or into water. YIKES! No thank you!

    1. Ouch that does sound rather insensitive, but you know husbands. They don’t mean it. They love us a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ And you take lovely pictures too, so it works for you and that’s what matters.

  9. I guess selfies are a raging fad among teenagers. Yesterday, I had an examination, and right enough, there were a few people taking selfies during the break.
    Selfies are a great way of expressing your happiness. But I feel that sometimes it just gets too irritating. There’s too much of pressure of getting that perfect selfie, only for the ‘likes’ on Instagram. And of course, the mobile industry is completely enjoying the fruits of this passing fad, what with the ‘selfie-phones’ and ‘perfect-selfie’ apps all over the place! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Selfies during exams? Wow that’s another level. Hmm in retrospect maybe I shouldn’t take too many stand alone selfies since Gy will watch and learn. Yes it can get too irritating. Agree with that.

  10. You and your peach-cream skin gives me some serious goals ๐Ÿ˜‰ I take selfies in front of the mirror, of my clothes to send it to my sister, fishing for her comments ๐Ÿ˜‰ … My selfies usually don’t get published. I love the ones I have taken with my husband ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Again with the peach cream skin! ๐Ÿ˜ I must take one low light picture and send it soon. Glad to know you don’t publish selfies. Must follow suit.

  11. I’m not a selfie guy. In fact, I’m so socially awkward that I should be given an award or something.

    I think the beauty of not being in a picture when we click it is that we capture the memory, not our presence in it. When we’re not present, we tend to focus more on what we clicked. – the beauty of nature, the joy of the person in it, etc. But when we’re there too, we may tend to fuss over whether we could’ve looked better. Sort of dilutes the fun of a photo.

    But that’s just my 2ยข. Would love to hear your thoughts, Shailaja.

    1. I like the perspective you’ve put on it. Here’s the thing in my specific case. Gy is almost ten. Would you believe that I do not have a single printed photo of hers save the ones we’ve taken for the passport? Yep. They are all digital.

      So, for me, these records are very precious. They are literally the only memories I have of her growing up.I agree that flipping through albums is immensely satisfying by itself but I do want to be a part of some of those memories with her. When I look back 20 years from now I’d be woeful if I wasn’t in even 10% of those pictures. And yes, some days a selfie makes me feel better even if I don’t share it on social media. Probably because it’s a way to tell myself that despite everything going wrong on a certain day, a photo still comes out well. Looking at the glass half-full, so to speak ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Your post reminded me of some people I know who like to take selfies wherever they go, whatever they do! They go on a trip to some foreign country and instead of taking in the views and enjoying that time, they busy themselves taking selfies with any and every thing they see! Won’t pass any judgements there, but, yes, some people do take this selfie thing to a whole new level!
    I like clicking selfies with Chikoo and with friends, when I meet them on rare occasions. I save those in a special album on my smartphone and look at them every now and then. Makes me feel great! Earlier I used to click selfies whenever I wore a new outfit or tried a new hairstyle, and then used it as my profile pic on WA. But, then, after that you-know-which scare, I have stopped doing it altogether. No more clicking/sharing selfies for me now.
    I have also heard people hurting themselves while doing this crazy thing of clicking selfies in all the wrong places. It’s a craze which will fade with time, or get replaced with something else, if and when it is invented..:-)

    1. Ha ha I know what you mean. It’s just a matter of time before the ‘next big craze’ takes over. I do hope though that people would exercise moderation, not just in taking selfies but in pretty much everything. Then again, this is the 21st century, the age of excesses. Who am I kidding? No such thing as moderation.

      1. Hehe Shilpa, that is flabbergasting. Incidentally this is such a malaise that stupid tourists just butt in and start taking selfies with art — paintings etc. least bothered about admiring the beauty of it. It makes me so mad!

  13. I’m so bad at taking selfies, that my photos come very skewed, but I don’t indulge.. when in a large group, yes, I like its angles it creatives, the long shot to get everyone in the frame, and how everyone huddles nearer to be in the frame :D.. but I find it a little disturbing like at the airport the other day, when a girl was taking selfies every two steps she was out of her car!

    ps: Well, the dp now is selfie.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes I do find it a bit disturbing to see that people tend to glance more at their phones than anything else, of course. Striking a middle ground seems ideal. Now if only everyone would do it too.

  14. I take selfies when there is no one else to capture a picture. I do end up taking selfies with the family or friends. But l an hardly a selfie taker. I do get annoyed when l see people posting selfies like on a spree. But that’s my personal thinking. I guess to each their own. At the end of the day, we should be comfortable in our sins no matter what anyone else may think about us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You’re this perfectly balanced person, you know? I admire how you can present your point of view while accepting the other person’s POV too.And yes, we should be comfortable in our sins, I agree. They are our sins, after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. I have been a part of selfies but never taken one, either of myself alone or with others. I am a reluctant soul whether it is about me getting clicked or clicking others’ photos. Everyone has valid reasons for everything they do which require no certificate from others. Selfies are fine until the addiction causes people, mostly youth, to lose their lives.

    1. Obviously I am not referring to the addiction stage that causes loss of life. I am referring more to the day to day humdrum pictures that we click. Extremes are bad, in any event. Moderation is key, like in anything else.

  16. Very true Shailaja :). I think selfies are a great idea for those of us who just might not have someone nearby to click a pic of that “moment” when we want to! This is very true in my case, the selfies where the kids jump in, are always the best of the lot!!

    1. You know my situation and at the moment I don’t have any choice but selfies ๐Ÿ˜‰ That being said I do love well-captured photos from a good angle- selfie or otherwise.

  17. I take selfies…alone…with my kids…my husband..friends…!
    The reason behind them is as simple as you mentioned. When my son was younger I took loads of his pictures, but in almost all of them I was missing. I wouldn’t know how I looked during a certain period of time since I was behind the lens or my reluctant husband was too bored to click me at all!
    Obsession with selfies is narsiccistic, true. It all boils down to the same cliched thing. Is it for yourself, for keepsake, or simply to flaunt the place, restaurant or celebrity that ‘happens’ to feature with you or in the background.

    1. Obsession with anything is pretty bad, I guess and if it impacts day to day activity definitely a cause for concern. Most of the selfies I take are for FB, I’ll admit. It’s also because I feel I am the only one who doesn’t capture my double chin ๐Ÿ˜‰

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