Me, Myselfie and I: #ArtStreetSelfieProject
By Amanda Dee '16
“Let’s talk about selfies.”
As I daydream about my last selfie featuring a cat portrait and butter knife, I look at the other people sitting in the circle. I count the rain boots, one through eight, over and over again because I know an icebreaker is coming; icebreakers make me mumble and sweat.
#ArtStreetSelfieProject started with the dreaded icebreaker, but it opened a discussion that challenged my staunch belief in the selfie.
(Selfie [selfē]: “A photograph that one is taken of oneself” – Oxford Dictionary)
Ezra Koenig, front man of the band Vampire Weekend, once defended the selfie and the selfie generation to Rolling Stone: “I'm definitely pro-selfie. I think that anybody who's anti-selfie is really just a hater. Because, truthfully, why shouldn't people take pictures of themselves? When I'm on Instagram and I see that somebody took a picture of themselves, I'm like, 'Thank you.' I don't need to see a picture of the sky, the trees, plants. There's only one you.”
Prior to this workshop, I would unabashedly call myself pro-selfie. However, that title came with conditions. I could not post waves of “mirror pics.” I could not make the “duck face.” Judging those who violated the conditions secured my rank.
When your hands control the camera – the angle, the filter, the delete button – you gain control over your appearance and your persona. You also risk rejection: from others and yourself.
What if no one “likes” your post? What if you don’t like the way your cheeks look? Do you delete it? Will people notice if you do?
We wrote words that society had thrust upon us. Fat. Skinny. Slut. Most of the lists were carbon copies. Then, we wrote one word on ourselves, one word to define ourselves. Passionate. Confident. Weird (mine).
Tim Arroyo’s “Metamorphosis: The Inner Beauty Project” inspired the #ArtStreetSelfieProject workshop, ArtStreet event planner junior Maggie Fiegl said. Fiegl, along with senior Liz Rosevear, organized the event in collaboration with the UD Counseling Center and Theta Phi Alpha. Arroyo’s “Metamorphosis” captured infrared photos to depict universal, inner beauty. #ArtStreetSelfieProject asked, “What makes you beautiful on social media?”
Although selfies have exacerbated the narcissistic stigma of our generation, we can use them to define ourselves. Selfies can represent an extension of our personalities. They can make people laugh. They can make people fear you (in my experiences).
In the Great Selfie Debate, I still stand alongside Koenig: “When I die, everybody is invited to come take a selfie at my funeral. Except for my enemies. They're not invited to the funeral, period."
But, I’ve learned to think before I selfie.
Amanda Dee is a sophomore English and journalism major with obsessive tendencies. She is currently fixated on tooth gaps, one-piece swimsuits and aliens. When not dreaming about the extraterrestrial, she blogs; writes for the arts and entertainment section of Flyer News; and edits Voices Raised, the Women's Center newsletter.