Are Selfies Vain?


Are Selfies the Path to Change?

The debate continues: narcissism worth loathing, or self-love worth celebrating?


A girl next to me at the crosswalk the other day had on the cutest yellow summer dress. She’d braided her hair in an intricate crown around her head and her winged eyeliner was on point. In short, she looked awesome. Four seconds into our wait, she smiled at her phone and snapped a selfie. The guy behind her rolled his eyes and may have even muttered something about the growing narcissism of the “selfie generation.” I mean, I didn’t exactly hear him, but he totally looked grumpy enough.

Are Selfies the Path to Change?

It’s an observation I’ve heard and read about a lot lately. Some people equate selfies with being vain and narcissistic. Given the way these articles talk about people snapping pictures of their faces all day, it’s easy to see why selfies are associated with the self-absorbed. But people who frown every time they see someone take a picture of themselves are missing the point.

…cries of narcissism lurk in the comments section…

Taking a selfie and sharing it is, first and foremost, an act of self-love. It’s a moment you wanted to preserve, a day you felt confidence in your appearance. Group selfies capture close friendships—quite literally, with everyone crowding to get in frame.  Solo selfies capture happiness and self-confidence. Call me crazy, but these sound like feelings worth celebrating.

Are Selfies the Path to Change?

Posting a selfie on social media is the traditional next step. Here again, cries of narcissism and vanity lurk in the comments section. By sharing a moment in which you felt confident, you pass on a message of confidence to your friends and followers. And don’t stop at your own selfies. Appreciating the beauty that others feel in themselves is just as important. My best friends are gorgeous and live far away: their selfies never fail to brighten my mood. Let the moments when other women felt good inspire you to see beauty in others. It can only lead to seeing beauty in yourself.

Taking a selfie and sharing it is, first and foremost, an act of self-love.

Are Selfies the Path to Change?

Ellen Degeneres at the Oscars–a moment worth documenting!

Sharing selfies does more than just give you a confidence boost, though. By papering the Internet with mostly unedited images of women, the selfie trend is the first step in reversing what photoshopped advertisements have done.

Instead of preying on women’s insecurities, selfies thrive on our confidence. The influx of women feeling good and sharing the feeling with their friends spreads a positive message across a medium traditionally used for body shaming. It’s the first step towards tossing aside Photoshopped beauty ideals and embracing self-confidence instead.

The best way to contribute to the movement is to take genuine selfies in moments when you feel beautiful or happy. Don’t self-objectify by photoshopping or hyper-sexualizing your selfies to match magazine models. Don’t use selfies to get likes and combat your insecurity. It is possible to go overboard, so make sure that you’re not flooding your Instagram or letting selfie-snapping take over every moment. Instead, make sure that every selfie you take and share is one that celebrates a feeling of happiness, confidence, and love. Enjoying those moments is the first step to building more happiness, confidence, and love in every aspect of your life.

Are Selfies the Path to Change?

Make sure you’re not self-objectifying…

Make sure that every selfie you take and share is one that celebrates a feeling of happiness, confidence, and love.

Selfies are hardly a new trend: people have been getting in front of cameras for a long time (and, before the camera, commissioning portraits of themselves). But never has it been more important. Those who cry “Narcissist!” when they see someone holding their phone out at arm’s length and smiling don’t understand the importance of the movement. It’s more than just the moment you feel cute, though that is the foundation. It’s about spreading self-love and celebrating the beauty in you. What could be more worthwhile than that?

What prompts you to take a selfie and share it?

Born in France but raised all over the place, Auriane has wanted to write ever since she was old enough to spell her name. In her spare time she loves reading, hanging out with her best friends (even when they're not in the same time zone), and spontaneous singing with her Broadway-bound roommate.

Reader Discussion: 7 Comments

  1. AJMAy

    Self love has nothing to do with the way you look. It’s actually the complete opposite.

    Self love comes from within, regarles of how u look

    I feel so sorry for you people.

  2. AleJs

    It has nothing to do with self love. Self love is from within, not an exteral picture of yourself. If it’s self love does that mean those who dont take selfies lack self love?

    It has nothing to do with capturing the moment to preserve either. Taking out your phone and taking a picture takes away from the moment and the experience is now taking a picture with a phone, not capturing the moment.

    You want to take pica to make memories, but years down the road you loOK at the picture and remember when you were looking at your camera… instead of enjoying the moment.

    People who are truly happy need something called humility. Humble people don’t rely on a materialistic pictur to show their friends, or to make themselves feel important.

    Selfish are 100% vain. This is not an insult… it is simple facts. I don’t look down on you’d for this, but you are loozing for contentment in all the wrong places.

  3. When you take a selfie, it is a great feeling of confidence and this positive energy spreads to others on social media. I love the way you take the negative perception of selfies and show how they are expressions of self-love

  4. Ansley Barrington

    They can also be helpful for times when we're feeling insecure. if you look back at a picture of yourself where you felt really confident and beautiful, you can hone those same feelings again. As you mentioned, they're unedited (most of the time) and therefore it's an organic representation of self-confidence.

  5. Jen Spillane

    This is a really interesting perspective on the selfie: that it's valuable in its un-Photoshopped form, that it's a statement of confidence and self-love, and that it's hardly a Gen X phenomenon (it's just taken a different form). I'm not that into selfies personally, but this article is making me reconsider…

  6. Hannah Mayers

    I’m not sure how I feel about selfies anymore. They have become overdone and there are some really bad ones out there (and we all have them) that we just wish wouldn’t have been taken in the first place.

  7. Courtney Watson

    I've honestly never thought of a selfie as self love until now. I don't take them unless I feel good about the way I look, so you are more than right. Considering I hate pictures of myself, it's feels nice to take a selfie.

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