With apps like Instagram and Snapchat, teenagers post photos on a regular basis. These pictures vary from a shot of their pumpkin-spiced latte bought at Starbucks to images of what they wore on Halloween to an action-shot during a sports game. Social media feeds are layered with pictures in different filters and under different circumstances, but every feed has a “selfie” or two.
Selfies vary in style, as the only condition that makes a selfie a selfie is taking a picture of oneself. People may post photos of themselves without makeup, with their pets, or maybe at a concert. This general fad leaves some annoyed; they view selfies as a method to gain compliments.
Cape Elizabeth High School Senior Samantha Feenstra mentions how selfies promote a narcissistic society. Feenstra says, “Posting selfies is pretty embarrassing, but it’s such a social norm. It’s in order to gain confidence. [Posters] need to be told they look good.”
Fellow CEHS Senior Anna Doherty adds, “People want other people to tell them that they’re pretty. They think these people’s opinions will give them confidence. I’m not against selfies, if you look good, go for it, but that’s why you post it.”
It is valid that some people use selfies to rack up positive comments and to get a self-esteem boost, but a great deal of people use them in order to promote self love. They don’t post in order to count likes and to scan through comments, but rather to show that they don’t care about what others think.
“Filters can show insecurity, but it you don’t care, a selfie shows confidence,” says CEHS Senior Dylan Roberts.
Lily Pillsbury, a twelfth grader at CEHS, says that she “likes selfies” even if they have a “bad rep.” She acknowledges that they often gain hate because with different combinations of filters and poses, “Selfies can be misleading.” Still, she finds value in selfies because they capture confidence. “They show you’re not afraid to take a picture of yourself by yourself.”
There is a polarization between the reasons people post selfies. People may post pictures of themselves to get likes and to boost their self-esteem. Or, they may post because they already have healthy self-esteem. But does that make them vain? Not necessarily. Selfies can inspire other teenagers to appreciate themselves on the outside, and perhaps that is why the trend is sticking around.