In Defense Of Selfies

Written by Suki Eleuterio

If you follow me on Instagram, you might get annoyed by my selfies. Here I am with tea, here I am after yoga, here I am before a big night out. I used to be embarrassed about sharing my selfies. They would just stay in my phone's photo album, collecting digital dust.

But recently, I had a revelation. I only take selfies when I'm feeling at my best.

If you're anything like me, you're drawn to taking a selfie at a moment when you feel happy and confident. It's those moments when you feel like a million bucks. There's an honesty in your eyes. You are your authentic self. It's like stepping up to a mirror and acknowledging your true reflection.

Last year, "selfie" was added to the Oxford Dictionary and named "word of the year" or 2013, in an acknowledgement from one of the most trusted sources that the selfie was more than just a trend. It had become a legitimate piece of history. It seemed like everywhere you turned, America was thrust into selfie overload. There were songs about selfies, multiple articles about selfies in The New York Times, with even James Franco weighing in on the trend, and even President Obama jumping aboard the selfie train.

But the rise of the selfie in popular culture has come with many critics, too. Leading the pack are those who call selfies the "new narcissism," a self-indulgent pastime for snotty millennial kids.

Meanwhile, some critics claim that the selfie encourages an unhealthy body image in young women. They claim the selfie is not empowering women, but see that it promotes low self-esteem.

But others are embracing this phenomenon. Celebrities, for instance, jumped on the trend, even engaging in the "no makeup" selfie for breast cancer awareness. Before we knew it, we were being inundated with annoying celebrity selfies (you know it's gone too far when you wake up to a picture of Geraldo Rivera half naked in a towel).

Celebrities were over-sharing and shamelessly self-promoting through selfies. But the more selfies the celebrities posted, the more we ate them up. While I admit the celebrity selfies can sometimes get annoying, it made me think about why we're so celebrity selfie obsessed.

Maybe it's because through selfies, we get to see celebrities in their true skin. Those moments before they get out of bed in the morning, or after a long night with mascara smudged on their faces. It's that truth, that human factor, that makes the celebrity selfie so fascinating to me. And acknowledging that makes me realize why I still like selfies.

This year, at the Oscars, Ellen Degeneres introduced the group selfie, or the "gelfie." The Twitterverse exploded with retweets and comments. Even group happiness can be captured by the power of the selfie.

So when I look back at the selfies I've taken, even in the past year, I'm thankful for every single one.

The twinkle in my eye, the quick memory captured on a digital device. I can look back at those moments and reminisce and know how I was feeling that day. I can remember an amazing night, an amazing walk, or just how confidant I was that day. But mainly, I can take an honest look at myself, accepting the skin I'm in, flaws and all.

And that's why this selfie queen will keep snapping away. Long live selfies!

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