Mirror Mirror On The Wall

on Saturday, 03 May 2014. Posted in Vanilla Thoughts

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

...Who's the vainest of them all? That might be a bit of a stretch as mirrors certainly still play a functional role in society (at times!), but with new technology, and an abundance of apps and gadgets, there seems to be a new focus on sharing our reflections.

And with the dawning of what has become the age of the 'selfie', one can't help but question whether we're creating art, a bit of fun, or personal propaganda.

New words are created all the time and added to the dictionary when the volume of use is deemed worthy of recognition, so the addition of the word 'selfie', meaning: "A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website", should come as no surprise given the prolific quantity of selfies that now saturate social media. But what does this say about our society? Is the selfie an act of self-assurance or self-obsession?

Admittedly, I look at my reflection a lot. Sometimes it's for a functional purpose, like putting on bright lippy so I don't look like I've been partying with Lilo, and then there's occasions where I just look at myself. Yep, that's right. Whether it's in a car window, the bathroom mirror, or an old Throwback Thursday pic from Facebook, I have a good old stare at my own image. And I'm sure I am like most people whereby sometimes it's positive when I'm giving myself props on an excellent fashion ensemble, and other times it's negative, and a complete critical assessment of my various features. This of course, is what most people will call normal.

So what about the selfie? Since I'm being honest, after I've glammed myself up something fierce for a night out, I take the odd selfie too, though most of the time my selfies only make it as far as the storage on my phone – this is the self-conscious side of myself coming out perhaps. What's with the selfie? Is it a moment of self-indulgence or maybe self-appreciation? Do we take selfies because we're arrogant or because we're trying to be confident and proud of who we are?

Why is looking in the mirror normal, but a selfie deemed conceited? What's the difference between the two? Sharing. Today's society takes these moments of self-indulgence and chooses to share them with the rest of the world. Where a quick glance in the mirror is a solo act, a selfie is about showing that reflection, sharing with everyone what you see. But it's more than that. How many of us take selfies at 7am on a Sunday morning after a big bash the night before. The selfie is a constructed image; it is about creating a version of ourselves that encapsulates how we want to be seen. The selfie is our own personal marketing tool.

In our social media dominated society, we share a lot about ourselves. We share our favourite books, movies, music, and food; we share photos of our friends, family, nights out, parties, things we find funny, things we find sad; we share stories, and we share defining moments in our life, and all of these things we share, attribute to who we are as a person. Is the selfie not just another piece of collateral that helps show the world who we are and who we want to be?

The selfie is undoubtedly personal propaganda. It helps define who we are, be it through our fashion choices or what we're doing. It's a confidence tool, allowing us to share a moment when we feel good about ourselves. It's art; when we capture the perfect juxtaposition of our hair hanging half way over one eye and the light casting a shadow across the other. And without a doubt, the selfie is fun - one only has to look at the Oscars selfie to know that!

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