“Selfie”

Is there more depth to this superficial craze, than meets the eye?

As this fad has grown and grown over recent years, my opinion on the matter has been torn.  Are selfies superficial, empowering, or both?  Honestly, I can’t say that I have a valid answer, as it’s a rather subjective phenomenon.  It’s become so wide spread, that the term has been officially added to the dictionary.  Because I haven’t read the technical definition yet, I’m going to look it up and toss it on in here.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, a selfie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  Interesting.  Alright – moving forward.

I chose today to explore this subject, as Dove has released a new campaign titled, you guessed it – “Selfie.”  This short explores the idea of beauty and how it is conveyed in the eyes of mother/daughter duos.  The young women are relatively high school aged and their mothers vary.  Take a look:

After viewing this latest short, I continue to be torn.  I have been a fan of Dove’s previous campaigns and do still appreciate this one.  However, I feel that there are things missing.  Understandably, this is a short and not a media research analysis.  With that in mind, I looked to the people.  I listened for their words, for their stories, for their reasons.

For example, around minute mark 6:40, one mother states: “I think that my daughters have taught me that social media is widening the definition of what beauty is.”

Ok.  So.  Here is my paradox.  If social media is widening the definition of what beauty is, who is right?  Would this be a good thing, or a bad thing?  One common thread in the short is the idea of women basing their appearance off of celebrities in movies, TV, mags, etc.  So, why is that so different from social media?  Thread sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and others regurgitate the idolizing of celebs and airbrushed models.  As it were, the young women in this short admit that they frame themselves just so, when taking a shot.  If they are perpetuating these standards in their own pictures, doesn’t that just beat around the bush?

Understandably, the point of this campaign was to throw water on the situation and wake everyone up.  Did it work?  Will it continue to work?  The message is there and the purpose is positive, but I’m not convinced.  This particular community shared a wonderful event and I wish them well in continuing this renewed mindset.  As for the rest of us, what’s next?

There are many other points that I wish to touch on in this post, but I want to think a little bit more.  I’ve been reminded of other mediated messages from the past and may just have a little series up my sleeve.  Stay tuned, if you so wish.

In the meantime, what do you think?