Autophotophobia

by - 3:26 PM

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In front of the Eiffel Tower: *CLICK* selfie.
In your back yard: *CLICK* selfie.
In the bathroom: *CLICK* selfie.
Wherever we go, whatever we do, we have to preserve the moment for all eternity. No matter how trivial the event is. Society has embraced the selfie in so far that it was entered in Van Dale (the Dutch equivalent of the Oxford Ditcionary) as word of the year 2013. Countless variants popped up: the votefie (during elections) and the soilfie (during the Geography Olympiad) are just two in a long row of hideous mutations of the already hideous word selfie. The selfie has become part of our life, whether we like it or not.

I'm not a fan of selfies, mostly because my hair fills up the entire frame when I try to take one. But every now and then I do take a selfie. I like my Blogger profile up to date and since my Mom only takes pictures of me when I'm asleep, I have to take a selfie sometimes. One per month is my maximum.
Some others take a selfie at least twice a day. Dutch writer Heleen van Rooijen even got the chance to show her selfies in an exhibition. No one reads her books, but everyone knows what her nipples look like... Psychologists say that selfies have nothing to do with narcissism, but organizing an exhibition with over 200 selfies, then charging people money for looking at way more of your body than they probably want to see is to me a huge act of narcissism.
I am not sure if this kind of selfie is adding value to our society. It gives me such an uneasy, nasty feeling that I think I might be suffering from autophotophobia: fear of selfies.

'So Envy,' you might ask, 'You're afraid of pictures?!'
Uuhmm, no. I'm not. Otherwise I wouldn't have this selfie of me and Rosanne in my physical photo album. But it's one of the very, very few selfies I genuinely like.
I'm not afraid of the pictures, I'm afraid of the people taking them and their influence on society. You know how people always say that a picture says more than a thousand words? Well, when that picture is a nude picture and you're pouting and complaining about your ugliness in the caption, I think that you're sending the world a negative message that could disturb a lot of people.
In other cases selfies are just pointless. If you want your friends to know you're at the Empire State Building, you could A: tell them you're at the Empire State Building or B: send them a picture of the building. But in the selfie-absorbed society of today you have to take a selfie in front of the building. The result: a few bricks and a window, the rest of the building is blocked from view by your probably not-so-photogenic face. You could literally be anywhere in the world in front of any building. So instead of either telling or sending a picture, you have to do both. What kind of logic is that?!
But according to psychologists, it's all very logical and not at all narcissistic. It's all because of 'sharing is caring'. Though in this case it's more like 'sharing is caring about yourself'.
And then there are the practical reasons why I detest selfies. Like I said, my hair is always blocking the view. Can you imagine my Machu Picchu post with only selfies? Or my graduation? It would have looked like one and the same thing because of my exploded hair. But if you insist on a selfie, there's even more trouble waiting for you. Ever tried aiming a camera while sitting on a bicycle taxi? Not a success... Aiming a camera when you're just bad at aiming? Then don't even try taking a selfie.

'Media fear selfies' would have been more accurate
But apart from the autophotophobia and the selfie hate, there's one positive thing I like about selfies. Taking a selfie isn't something you do when you can't stand to look at your own face. So if we're taking selfies en masse, that means we're finally getting more comfortable with who we are as individuals. We care a little less abot what others think and show that in our selfies. We are getting used to the idea of being unique. And that is worth something too.

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Lol, great post! I take few selfies myself mainly because I don't like the duck face, or any kind of those ridiculous selfie expressions. I'm not into social media either so there's no reason to take a selfie (unless I'm feeling narcissistic and cute).

    thestarryeyeddreamer.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you :) Ah, duck faces, another good reason to put a ban on selfies. Also, would being into social media be a reason to start taking selfies? I understand that you don't take as much as you would if you were into social media, but still I don't see the point of swamping someone else's news feed with pictures of myself. But I do agree that it feels good sometimes to be the ultimate narcissistic and just love yourself enough to take a selfie :) I do that too ;)

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  2. Your blog looks awesome *___*
    I don't take many selfies because 1. wearing a scarf so need proper lighting else I look like a shadowy evil dude 2. don't upload them ANYWHERE so really, what's the point?
    But when people ask me to selfie with them, I'm usually okay with it. (:

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    1. Thank you, Abby did it for me. I'm so happy with it, glad you like it too!
      Hahaha 'a shadowy evil dude', I'd take a selfie like that anyway just to scare the crap out of my friends. Put that picture on caller ID, you know?
      Taking a selfie with others is something else all together in my opinion. That's real sharing of a great moment :)

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  3. Only selfies I got are of when my sister forcefully brings me in her selfies or when a friend group asks..she's one of those selfie people it's weird..and I'm never comfortable :P
    I feel people are self obsessed when they take selfies..I got so many friends taking selfies and just posting them on Facebook sometimes I want to post a comment on all of them not the kind they'd like :P
    But to be frank I prefer behind behind the camera instead :D

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    1. Oh those selfies are the worst. My class is really into selfies and those are quite fun, but if someone forces me to take a selfie with them I just look angry and then they get angry because I ruined the picture by looking angry XD
      Those people who take a selfie every hour really are self-obsessed in my opinion. You don't need to show every second of your life on Facebook. -.-"
      I prefer being behind the camera too. Gives me a feeling of ultimate power :P

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