By: Chris O'Shea
The selfie has reached epidemic levels. It's a sickness and it's spreading rapidly. The sad thing is it's not treatable, like an infection immune to antibiotics. And it's worse than something like the flu because people don't even realize that selfies are bad for them. At least the flu makes people vomit. Selfies just make normal people internally vomit when they see their friends or loved ones posting them. The selfie is such a virus that people are even changing the way they look — literally — because of them.
The selfie has been around for years, but it really took off in 2013, when the Oxford Dictionaries named it the Word of The Year. “Social media sites helped to popularize the term, with the tag ‘selfie’ appearing on the photo-sharing website Flickr as early as 2004, but usage wasn’t widespread until around 2012, when selfie was being used commonly in mainstream media sources," Judy Pearsall, editorial director for Oxford Dictionaries, explained in a press release at the time. The rise basically forced the agencies hand. "Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year," added Pearsall.
Things took off from there. There have been countless studies about selfies and their impact. Selfies, of course, are good for girls. "The selfie suggests something in picture form—I think I look [beautiful] [happy] [funny] [sexy]," Do you?—that a girl could never get away with saying," Rachel Simmons wrote in November over at Slate. "It puts the gaze of the camera squarely in a girl’s hands, and along with it, the power to influence the photo’s interpretation." There's selfie products, too. Like an app that promises to make the user appear five, 10 or 15 pounds thinner. There's also a mirror that automatically takes selfies when you stand in front of it.
And now there's a study that found plastic surgeons are seeing a rise in services because of the selfie. That's right, people are getting more procedures because of a stupid trend. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), "one in three facial plastic surgeons surveyed saw an increase in requests for procedures due to patients being more self aware of looks in social media." The report, which questioned 2,700 surgeons about selfies, found that about 13 percent of surgeons said selfies were to blame for the increase in surgeries. Sort of goes against the whole "Selfies are good for us!" theory, doesn't it?
Hopefully the selfie bubble will burst soon. There has got to be a point where people get tired of taking pictures of themselves, doesn't there? Maybe don't reply to that question. The answer might be depressing.
[Image via Flickr - Reedz Malik]