#Selfies

About Eritrea - History & Culture

“Can we please leave? You do know we have to be back to work at 2, right?” I ask all exasperated.

“Just wait a minute, I’m changing my profile picture on Facebook?” replies Hezron.

“Didn’t you change it a week ago? Why do you need to change it again?” I inquire showing a hint of irritation.

“I look like I have a long neck. I don’t like it.” She answers with all the seriousness she can muster.

I know I should not get in the way of my friend and her selfies, for she will tear me to pieces if I say anything with disapproval about her pictures. You see, my friend who apparently suffers from a chronic “selfitis” disorder(completely made-up), changes her picture as often as she takes pictures of herself, which is about a million times a week.

Oh look, that’s a selfie of you next to a teddy bear. And isn’t that a photo of yourself besides a statue. And then there’s you with a trash can. And then alongside a plate of pasta. OK, now with a random stranger. Then with a fluffy dog. Yes, yes, I know what you look like, for God’s sakes we all know what you look like, can you please give it a rest!

I once made the mistake of taking away her phone amid a selfie session and said “I know. It’s hard to believe. But it’s true. You may be beautiful, but there’s literally no one in the world that needs to see pictures of your face from 12 different angles. No one!” Well let’s just say the whole situation went pear-shaped.

Back in the day, it used to be that having a good-looking graduation photo or an I.D. picture was the main concern of the young and the vain. However, with the advent of the social media, there is more and more pressure to look good online.

Enter the #selfie: The self- photograph that can get out of control.

Ah, the selfie. Whether you’re for them or against them, you’re, of course, probably still guilty of taking at least one in your life. Once limited specifically to millennials, taking selfies has become something that everyone does.

It was in November 2013; the word selfie was announced as the “word of the year” and, consequently, inducted in to Oxford English dictionary.

However, the word “selfie” is said to have existed as far back as 2002. Researchers d e f i n e d selfies as “a self-portrait photograph of oneself (or of oneself and other people), taken with a camera or a camera phone held at arm’s length or pointed at a mirror, that is usually shared through social media.” Because digital cameras and smart phones can take pictures so quickly and easily, selfies have become a staple of the modern online landscape. There is even a song and everything about it.

Selfies have also spawned an entire selfie product industry, with selfie sticks, remote controls, and even selfie drones flooding the digital market.

At the same time, selfies have gotten a bad reputation for being something that narcissists do. Taking a self-photograph isn’t always an exercise in self-love.

But if a person wakes up in the morning, brushes their teeth, showers, and then takes 10-20 selfies to choose which one to post to social media that morning, it might just be a problem.
Question is, is it men or women who take selfies on a daily basis.

Apparently according to Selfiecity, a project that tracks selfies around the world, women outnumber men when it comes to p o s t i n g s e l f i e s online, it is women who take more selfies than men. In New York alone 23-year-old females take the most selfies and 62 percent of selfies are taken by women. In Moscow, for instance, 82 percent of selfies depict female faces. In Eritrea, probably 90% of selfies are taken by women.

“Why, why do you take so many selfies?” was a question Michael regretted asking one afternoon.

“Because I take better pictures of myself than other people do. I know what my flaws are and how to hide them from the camera, but when someone else takes a picture they don’t care about hiding my flaws.” Almaz responded proudly, of course while taking another selfie from a top angle.

Though perhaps no surprise to him who has spent considerable amount of time with her while she takes pictures of herself wherever they go, she photographs herself most frequently from above, an angle she says makes her look more attractive.

I always wondered why women take pictures of themselves from the top. In this situation I decided to do a little digging in the old world wide web. In one article a wise-wit went all evolutionary behavior and said even Peacocks fan their tail feathers to appear larger and more dominant; alpha giraffes strut with their heads held high; and submissive chimpanzees crouch low when met by dominant members of their tribe. While, humans just change the angle of their forward-facing camera lenses.

The article stated, while taking a selfie from an above angel-mostly used by women- makes them look younger and thinner, it makes the forehead and eyes appear relatively larger to the face, like a child, qualities that have traditionally been associated with female allure. The upward selfie, on the other hand, accentuates the jaw line and the subject’s overall size, preferred by men, gives them a dominant feature.
The researcher said this mirrors the evolutionary behaviors of male animals who try to appear larger, older, or flaunt their dominance and status when confronting other males.

According to the grapevine, the story states that the strategy has been used throughout human history. Leaders like Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler were routinely captured from below to dramatize their authority. In Hollywood, directors like Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock shot from below to give characters power and dominance; and, historically, Marvel superheroes have been drawn from below.

These sound all interesting but still don’t answer why women take more selfies than men. Could it be that they are perfectionists or narcissistically self-indulgent. The answer I will leave to you, my dear readers.

A girl wants to take multiple selfies with all the twists and bends and pouts. The shutter in a girls hands go‘clickclickc lickikclciclclickclickclick’ by saying “One more”. A minimum of 3 good snaps for each pose are mandatory, according to my friend that is.

Whereas a guy takes a picture, thinks ‘decent enough?’ if yes then good. No? the hell with it.

Then there are the never ending faces my friend makes while taking selfies. The duck face, the fish gape, kissy face, brow too strong face, model pout, smile, the squinch, sparrow face and many others, ranging from the cute to the downright crazy looking.

Our parents didn’t grow up with this technology, and they are probably thankful. I’m terrified to think of what a 15 or 20-year-old Tstehay (my old aunt) would be posting on the Internet if it was this seamless.

It’s like riding a motorcycle, it’s not about if you’ll get into an accident, it’s when. The severity of the accident could range from a tiny skid-out to full-on catastrophe, but it will happen at some point.

To recap, the next time you’re tempted to take a selfie, take your phone, pour gasoline on it, set it on fire, throw it in a toilet, and throw that toilet in a dumpster.

Last Updated (Saturday, 30 June 2018 01:25)