Are selfies the new Marmite? Some people love them and some people hate them but one thing is for sure – selfies are here to stay. There’s even been a song written in homage to them.
Warning: extremely catchy and there is a medium to high possibility of your eardrum breaking.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now, to truly understand the obsession and recent social acceptance of selfies we’ve got to rewind to where it all began…. 1839. Yes that’s right, selfies are not a 21st century discovery. In fact we actually owe our current obsession to Robert Cornelieus, an American pioneer of photography. Oh Robert, some would argue he started a surge in self-confidence whilst others would say self-obsession.
Despite the first official selfie being taken in 1839 the trend only really burst onto the viral stage in 2012. By the end of the year, the Times Magazine had declared the term ‘selfie’ one of the top ten buzzwords.
Many people have their doubts about selfies, with some even going as far to say that they can lead to severe problems such as anorexia and depression. How can a simple selfie be capable of such damage? Recently, news broke of a teenager, Danny Bowman, from Newcastle upon Tyne, who attempted suicide after struggling with crippling body image and anorexia. On ITV’s ‘This Morning’, Bowman said his decline into body obsession originated with selfies. Here’s a video of Danny Bowman on ‘This Morning’ explaining how his obsession with selfies had major consequences…
Statistics from the National Children’s Bureau were incredible, with seventy per cent of adult women and forty per cent of adult men feeling pressured from television and magazines to have a perfect body. Selfies and these statistics are contribute to this pressure and desire to look ‘socially acceptable’ in this new and obsessive culture.
However, there is always a positive and selfies are no exception. These controversial photographs can be snapshots and memories just like normal pictures; selfies are just the modern 21st century update.
In fact, selfies have achieved much more than previous crazes. In March 2014, Cancer Research launched the campaign ‘No make-up selfies’ on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In six days women took selfies without makeup and uploaded them to social media sites and then donated to the charity via text. These quick, easy and simple selfies raised £8 million. The campaign went viral as women uploaded their selfie nominating others to continue the chain. All of this was achieved through the medium of selfies. A rather impressive feat for ‘just’ another viral phenomenon.
Top: Michelle Heaton, Holly Willoughby and Kym Marsh in their no-makeup selfies. Below: how they usually appear
Cancer Research Representative
Selfies are part of our viral existence and despite negative drawbacks, selfies have achieved a lot more than other previous crazes. I mean, even Oscar winning celebrities have gotten in on the act. This is probably the most famous and record-breaking selfie with an incredible 3, 404, 230 million retweets!
Selfies have made it. Made it through the one-hit wonder auditions. Made it into the semi-finals of up and coming trends. Finally, selfies exploded onto the final viral stage alongside hashtags and tweeps before taking home the grand prize of social acceptance.
Congratulations selfies – you’ve made it.