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The “Selfie”sh Mania Round The Globe

  SELFIES or self-photographed portraits, the new trend of this age , is familiar to one and all. Infact owing to the popularity and relevance of selfies in today’s world , the word selfie was recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary ,officially. However this craze of clicking pictures of one’s ownself is increasing at such an alarming rate that it brings forth the obvious question about whether selfies are turning out to be an obsession in disguise , for us all.

Although it was in 2O13 , that selfies began to gain popularity , the first selfie to be ever taken was way back in 1839 by Robert Cornelius , an American photographer, who produced a daguerreotype of himself,by standing in front of the lens for as long as a minute. The word selfie ,proclaimed to have an australian origin,was supposedly first used by an Australian internet forum,back in 2OO2. But it was not until the approach of moderately budgeted smartphones with front cams , that the selfie fever became this widespread. An occasion , a festival, a new experiece , a sudden meet with a friend, a trip , a political campain or even a normal day-to-day activity – all of it, today,demands a selfie.A recent study revealed that about 7O percent of the teenagers ,spend about 5 hours a week, in taking selfies.

This absolut love for this crazy mania perhaps comes from our continuous addiction towards social networking sites like Facebook ,Twitter and so on. Perhaps to gain popularity or approval from others , most people resort to posting self taken pictures of one’s ownself , on social media , regularly.

Psychologists are ,however , of the opinion that self – love or the tendancy to accomplish self-perfection, is actually what drives most people to resort to this vindictive addiction. Thus people obsessed with self-objectifying may have the three traits of- narcissism or extreme self centredness and a grandiose view of one’s ownself, psychopathy or impulsivity and lack of empathy and machiavellianism or manipulativeness without regard for other’s needs,which are together commonly known as the “Dark Triad” .The irony ,however,lies in the fact that the obsessive self-love which drives people to take selfies in the first place ,do not prevent them from obligingly compromising their own safety while trying to click out -of-the -way pictures,which in turn ,sometimes leads to dangerous outcomes, as it so happened in the cases of Oscar Otero Tguilar, of 21 years , who shot himself accidentally while posing with a gun and taking a selfie or the 17 year old girl Xenia Ignatyeva,who had climbed on a railway bridge to take a selfie when she fell and died as she was hit by 15OO volts when tried to grab live wires. Even, the American Psychiatric Association has classified this craze for selfies asan acute mental disorder.

For better or worse, the fact however remains that,selfie , a product of the digital age , has a raging popularity as well as serves to be a necessity in creating awareness about social or public issues ,that cannot be easily curbed down. But as the saying goes , “with rights comes duties” , just as we have every right to utilise and enjoy this facility of technology,it is our duty to see that its usage is judicious as well as unharming. It is perfectly normal for all of us to be drawn towards experiencing new and trendy practices in the social media like taking selfies or groupfies but at the same time , a balance should be struck such that taking selfies remains unharming,safe and does not turn out to be an obsessive addiction in the days to come.

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Sayari Mukherjee

A student of English honors in Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata.

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