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‘Word of the Year’ ‘selfie’: just a synonym for vanity

By Laura BelliniSpecial to the Chronicle

On Nov. 19, the word “selfie” was named Oxford Dictionaries’s Word of the Year. The word was in stiff competition with its rival, “twerk.” Although both words are equally idiotic, the fact that “selfie” triumphed reflects how truly narcissistic our generation has become.

We live in a world where our smartphones run our lives. Most people can’t get through the day, let alone an hour, without checking social media; and almost always, the social media we are checking are photos of people’s lunches, pets and, of course, selfies.

Everyone has done it. I’m guilty of the occasional selfie. Maybe you’re having a good hair day. Maybe you’re really happy about your new outfit. I can’t argue with that. It’s important and healthy to take pride in the way that you look.

It has come to a point, however, where this practice has become an extreme. Instead of being proud of looking particularly attractive or put-together, we have created a generation even more obsessed with looks than the last.

The narcissism is insane. We have fallen in love with our own faces, and we want others to fall in love with them too. It’s a plea for attention and compliments. If praises are not given or enough “likes” aren’t achieved, the selfie is immediately taken down out of embarrassment. This need for applause does not portray self-confidence, but rather extreme insecurity.

Natural beauty has become obsolete. People seem to be enjoying the look of their own face more and more each day – not their plain face, but one that is masked. People strive to find the perfect lighting or choose the right filter in order to make them look the most appealing. I have witnessed people taking multiple pictures of themselves in public and choosing which self-portrait looks best. They don’t care if the selfie looks like them or not, as long as it gets enough likes to make them feel important.

When we post a selfie, we assume that people care about our faces. It’s time to wake up – the truth of the matter is, no one really cares. Unless you’re a celebrity, I promise you no one is checking your Instagram on a daily basis. Very few people will even think twice about seeing your face on their feed, a fact that many selfie photographers have not yet grasped.

This attention-seeking and vanity does not need encouraging. By Oxford Dictionaries’s declaring this “Word of the Year,” they have expressed that this behavior is okay. By saying the word was popular enough to be “Word of the Year,” the dictionary is allowing the word to survive on the social circuit. Instead of honoring the word “selfie,” the word should be disregarded. If the fad is ignored, it will eventually go away.


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