Selfie Mania

Oct 21 2016.

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A Sad Splendour? 

Hailed as the ultimate solution to showcase to the world what we do privately when no one else is around to take that moment to etch in the memory of all known, lesser-known and completely unknown populace of the world, selfie mania, lets’ face it, is here to stay. 

There’s monkey selfies as well, as Subo, a Legal Officer in a leading bank enlightened me. David Slater the famed photographer was taking photos of macaques in Indonesia, when the monkeys, as inquisitive they are, played with his camera equipment. One of them, accidently pressed the button and voila! 

David Slater and the  monkey selfie 

Let’s not delve in to the recent sad happenings that the selfie mania contributed to, in loss of life among the young. Rather, let’s delve into what might be lying behind the selfie mania, looking at some behavioural aspects of the young. This is no discrimination but all tragic reports involving selfie deaths, were related to the young. Is it a trend? From selfie Olympics to competing with each other in the ‘most dangerous selfie ever’, seem to be the theme among the young, to showcase their creative pursuits to the rest of the world. Yes it is a trend. The irony is what was meant to be a harmless trending among the friends, has degenerated into a rat-race to selfie, with scant disregard to one’s life. This displays an insatiable need to get ahead of the selfie-pack to garner the most amounts of ‘likes’ on FB. 

If the opinions of a select few from different walks of life differ, what’s in it then – the selfies? There are two suggestions from a cross section of our readers. 

Lacking in self esteem 

This school of thought seems to align it with a lack of self-esteem on the part of the individual. They say, selfie-mania is where someone tries to fill up their lives for what is lacking in them. In some cases, it is only a façade to cover up a deep emotional need. 

It’s a way to store memories that matter 

What the conventional cameras did with a timer, the selfie does with the smart phone. In this score, yes, a selfie may well do the job of storing memories. The flip side of the coin is, if a random survey is done on a class of selfies, most of them will be of the individual and very few of a group memory. 

Researching into this mania that has cost lives around the globe, there are a few conclusions, I’d like to draw. 

Selfies are here to stay. No qualms about it and it is not rocket science to understand it. Yes, it is a good tool to store memories. Excessive use of selfies may be seen as narcisstic. A narcissistic personality disorder is described as a “mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism” by the respected Mayo Clinic. This seems to align with one of the thoughts expressed by a segment of society. 

As some readers opined, in some cases, a selfie may hide a deeply needy human being. Inner healing, may be the one thing that the person most needs in life. In such situations, a selfie may be a negative-attention seeker, to draw the world’s attention on the person, as the person may not know, how exactly to express his/her need. 

We asked a few more of our readers for their opinion. 

Aneetha Barrow Gunawardena 

I love taking selfies/usies! There’s so much fun in posing around! It’s almost an essential when friends or cousins meet up, we really enjoy taking them. The problem however lies with some people taking it too far. Be it when taking selfies or just walking around, people should be aware of their surroundings and avoid being reckless. On a separate note, I do feel selfie sticks are unnecessary. In many public places abroad the use of selfie sticks is prohibited. It needn’t be banned everywhere, just in places that it poses as hazardous would be sufficient. 

Ashantha, an IT expert has no intention of taking any selfies in the near future. He says, “Surely, what is the point in selfies! It is only a social media tool for me, as most of the selfies end up on one of the social media sites. In my opinion, people lose value for storing memories, when selfies dominate their lives, conversation and even, comparisons of who looks better in a selfie.” 

Sathsy Dahanayake Fernando 

As for Sathy, selfie is a modern day term for narcissism! She says, “I think the selfie option on mobile phones is a handy tool when you are out with friends having fun. I know some call it a mental disorder...well, being obsessed with anything is a ‘mania’!  In today’s context narcissism is in fashion!” 

Iranthi, on the other hand, had a lot to say. “Today, the word selfie is very common specially among the young generation. We have the liberty to capture pictures anywhere we want. We usually see people taking selfies at social gatherings and anywhere and everywhere. Later, these photographs are shared on social websites. I fail to understand the fact as to why people would want to expose their whereabouts and personal lives with the rest of the world where as that moment is only special to you and the rest of the world will clearly not understand how you felt. I do not think people enjoy the moment or try to feel what they see other than trying to capture the moment into a picture. The beauty does not lie in looks and appearance alone, rather it is embedded in a loving heart and personal character. Therefore In my view what is importance is to enjoy the moment with the people who are around you and try to make it a special memorable one”.


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