The Selfie Epidemic Has Arrived

Posted by Kristen Bramhall
Photo by Ian Muluti. Licensed under Creative Commons, 2012.

Photo by Ian Muluti. Licensed under Creative Commons, 2012.

Everyone is thinking it. Everyone is doing it. It’s time someone addressed the plague that has descended upon Generation Y. Allow me to be that someone.

The Selfie Epidemic is here, and it’s not leaving. But what’s worse is that the media won’t let it. Generation Y, also affectionally called the Me Generation, are the primary offenders of the “selfie,” a photo one takes of oneself, typically with one arm awkwardly extended in front of one’s face, or in a mirror. From a humanitarian perspective, there is nothing wrong with taking a picture of yourself. If you were to choose to snap a photograph of yourself standing in front of your dirty bedroom mirror in your “outfit of the day,” slap on one of many Instagram filters to make your skin appear tanner, and your hair appear glossier, it’s your own decision.  However, it should be acknowledged that there is a time and a place for such vivid   examples of narcism to be taken, and to be published. A selfie should not be used, for instance, by a major news media platform to exploit the victim of a violent crime.

CBS Pittsburgh posted an article yesterday about the stabbing at Franklin Regional High School outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The article featured a picture of student Nate Scimio, who allegedly pulled the fire alarm to alert authorities after the stabbings began. The photo is by Scimio himself, pointing to his bandaged arm in a hospital gown. It is, by all intents and purposes, a selfie. There is something less than professional about a major news platform pulling a picture off of a 16-year-old’s Instagram account, and calling it newsworthy.

Last October, the New York Daily News posted an article that centered entirely around a student who took a selfie while his teacher was in labor in the background. What I don’t understand is why a photo like this could not simply go ignored by the better part of society. When a source as reputable as the New York Daily News is dipping into the poisonous vat of “Selfie Nation,” the future looks a little bleak for aspiring journalists.

Is Generation Y to blame for this new self-obsessed fad? Or is social and news media to blame for taking citizen journalism to a new level by justifying selfies as newsworthy? Am I the lone objector to taking a picture of yourself and expecting the world to care?

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One response to “The Selfie Epidemic Has Arrived

  1. Yesterday, I was eating dinner with my dad because he came through Des Moines for a business meeting, and he turns to me and goes, “we should get a picture of this.” I assumed that he wanted our waitress to take a photo of us, but instead he pulls out his iPhone and asks me how to take a selfie. I showed him, and he quickly asked “is it selfie with an ‘ie’ or with a ‘y’?”

    Long story short, the selfie culture has taken over many aspects of our lives, and it’s unavoidable, even by the older generations. I wonder if this will be a continuing trend, or if our own kids will one day laugh about the silliness of taking a selfie.

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