It’s probably the word of the year. Selfie. It’s already there in the dictionaries as a word with its origins in the early 21st century, but I think it’s actually just come of age this year.
Why? Because some things have happened this year that have elevated it from a mere expression of vanity, and a (perceived) juvenile one at that to a true celebration of one’s own identity. A showcasing of the star that hides inside each one of us. A perfectly acceptable, modern way to share our joy of that moment.
Although Selfies are a phenomenon born out of camera phones and smartphones appearing in every person’s hand, our inner need to celebrate ourselves is a feeling that’s timeless. I actually happened to come across a picture of a group of people taking a selfie a hundred years ago!
The transformation in the ‘image’ of the Selfie being something that’s fine for even grown-up, ‘mature’ people to do is what’s changed this year. And in fact, it’s thanks to the celebrities, actually – whose celebrity status has forever been celebrated more by others than by themselves! Nevertheless, when Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres took a backstage selfie and tweeted it, it became the most retweeted ever!
Since then no one’s been holding back. Everyone’s taking more selfies, alone and together. Openly and publicly. The shyness and slyness has disappeared from our act of posing for ourselves. It’s the pictorial equivalent of no longer covering our laughter with our hands.
One of the pop hits of recent times is song called Selfie. And on the American Idol tv show the song was performed on stage with the celebrity judges getting selfies shot with the audience.
In all this selfies-ness, there’s something very interesting going on. We take selfies celebrating the ‘star’ that lurks inside us. The celebs take selfies and it gives us a peek into their very normal human selves – feeling the same emotions as we do, using the same phones as we do, sharing it for the world to comment on as we do.
The selfie proves we’re all human, after all.
Like a wise one (was it Margaret Mead?) once said, “Always remember that you are special – just like everyone else!”