The #selfie. A tribute of mixed emotions.

“We have no patience with other people’s vanity because it is offensive to our own”

(Francois De La Rochefoucauld)

“I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything, and finally that what one calls conscience is only inner vanity”

(Gustave Flaubert)

Flaubert was right, history and the internet have proved it. Thanks to Facebook and especially Instagram we now have personal windows through which our vanity can shine through in the form of a #selfie.

As it turns out, now everyone can post everything; anyone can open a blog and be a “journalist”. There is always someone posting or blogging and giving vanity a whole new dimension: what you think, what you do, how you look, how you dress, etc. It’s the me-me-me culture. The currency in these terms are the likes – how many likes do I have? How good they make me feel. We now talk in terms of like-inflation – you know those people who like every post in their newsfeed and therefore whose likes lose face-value.

In 2014 we share. And we gobble up what others share. We can’t stop, its completely addictive. And the #selfie is a tribute to vanity in in of itself – look for #selfie on Instagram and you will get 82,000 results. Selfies and everything we share of our online selves are projections of how we want to be seen. My ex boyfriend, a well-known Paris fashion player of sorts, posts things all the time, especially selfies. I hate him for it. Its in-my-face evidence that he continues…to live…happily, beautifully…without me. In fact, when we broke up he told me that it was going too fast, that since meeting me he hadn’t posted anything on his Instagram account. Again: THAT SINCE MEETING ME HE HADN’T POSTED ANYTHING ON INSTAGRAM as an indicator that he had gotten too involved too soon. Go figure. And yet and yet and yet…I can’t unfollow him. I’ve tried, but I last about a week before re-following him, and worse, re-friending. And now months later, we sometimes even like one another’s posts. So if vanity is a sin, we all are sinners.

I personally don’t selfie. Maybe a twosie-selfie with my cousin  who is an expert with Instagram filters and will always make me look amazing. Or a shoe-selfie. But I can’t get over this fear of no one liking it. Of people thinking “I could not care less about what she looks like/what shes wearing/eating/snorting/sneezing…”. And then I just read in the New York Times that whats “in” now is the #ugllieselfie – “Amid the bared midsections and flawless smiles flashed all so often on the screen comes the explosion of the ugly selfie, a sliver of authenticity in an otherwise filtered medium”(http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/fashion/selfies-the-uglier-the-better-technology.html?_r=0) . Kudos to the tweens out there who aren’t afraid of their own ugliness, I personally am not quite there yet.

By Amanda Timerman

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