Yes, it’s Friday again and that means one thing around here and one thing only, Richard Gray’s, Gray’s Anatomy column article. This week Richard discusses the psychology of ‘selfies’. Seriously, don’t miss this, over to you Richard. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
Are you a bit self-obsessed? Well, like my Mum always used to say if I said “very unique”, I’m not sure you can be “a bit” self-obsessed. But let’s go with it. And do you take photos? If your answers are yes and yes, you’ve probably taken a “selfie”. Or in highfalutin parlance, a self-portrait. Or in simple terms, a picture of yourself. With most smart phones, just flip the lens and you can line yourself up and do a really sexy pout.
An article in The Guardian this week highlighted the popularity of the selfie. In it, Bim Adewunmi says selfies are so popular, especially with celebs, because they are easy and you are in control of the photo. “I love selfies. And I am not alone.” she says. Well, I’m not that keen on doing selfies myself actually. Thinking about it, though, it would make a difference if I was a lot better looking and younger. If you’ve got a nice face, then just like any other nice-looking thing, you probably want to take a photo of it. If not, then not. Another reason I’m probably not that bothered is that I’m married. Especially if you’re good looking, free and single, a selfie is a great way of putting yourself in the match-making shop window. Surely it’s no coincidence that selfies are most popular amongst pubescent teens?
But perhaps a more profound theory for the popularity of the selfie (and here my degree in philosophy is finally coming in handy) has something in common with the popularity of the food image. I previously speculated (move over Alain de Botton!) that people like taking pictures of their food because they want to reassure themselves, in some primeval way, of their continued survival. In the same way, don’t people take pictures of themselves just to tell themselves that they exist? This is me. I am alive. I pout therefore I am.
‘A rare rugfoot selfie’ – ©Richard Gray