selfies (and how old people just don’t get it)

selfie canon



I like selfies because I am in complete control of how I am being presented that is powerful

… like boys on facebook laugh at the “stupid girls taking mirror selfies” and media mocks “generation selfie” but maybe that is because girls are controlling how they are presenting images of themselves to the world

and that is scary to them


“I’m not vain. I’m just recovering from years and years of low self-esteem. “

why I’m taking so many selfies

Selfies seem to have evolved in the newer world of Tiktok <kind of video selfies> and Instagram <selfie morphs into ‘influencer’>, but at its core, the whole conversation surrounding selfie has taken on a slightly absurd generational hue.

What do I mean <part 1>. If you want to really get an interesting discussion going in a group, bring up selfies. Shit. Even my 90something mother has brought up selfies in a conversation. Regardless. Rarely have I heard such unequivocal points of view with regard to a topic – from all ages.

What do I mean <part 2>. Let me point out that people have been doing ‘selfies’ for years … decades … if not centuries.


The most famous … Rembrandt, Picasso <whose selfies are quite disturbing> selfie historicaland pretty much every great artist of their day.

I tend to think more older people should remember that.

Generalizing selfies as narcissistic or ‘regrettable actions of an unthinking youth’ is silly if not stupid.


The digital age has made ‘unfortunate moments’ less easily forgettable moments. But that simply shapes the conversation as “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?”

What I mean is … simply because there were no smartphones when I was growing up and doing stupid things <that I am pleased to say never appeared on film anywhere> does that make me any more responsible then the current generation? What I mean is lots and lots of trees fell before the wacky world of smartphones and the internet, its just that the sounds were limited.

In addition.

Does my generation REALLY believe we wouldn’t have been doing exactly the same thing if we had smartphones when we were growing up?


C’mon. We have this absurd filter we put on rising generations that things they do we would have never done or, if we are particularly lazy, simply say “we never did things like that.” What a crock of shit.

“All grown-ups were once children … but only few of them remember it.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Sure. Selfies can be silly, irresponsible and regrettable.

On the other hand. They create a true mosaic of life.

The perfections and the imperfections of each and every day.palvin model being real 20 yr old

And isn’t that really the point if we want society to progress? Would we rather not see the imperfections and learn to embrace them <rather than unrealistic perfection>?

I don’t know.

I am sure the real answer is; sometimes yes, sometimes no.

That said. We all know life is not perfect nor is there a perfect life.

In fact.

Selfies teach kids that.


If you don’t think some kids take dozens of selfies that they do not send before they find one ‘perfect’ <or appropriate for what they want to communicate or showcase> then you do not understand what is happening.

Selfies increase awareness of how life is made up of each and every moment.

Selfies teach about regret and … well … mistakes … and forgiveness as well as moving on. I would argue that in the evolution of selfies that this heavy burden of ‘the perfect selfie’ has lessened as “authentic” – which, in this case, has arced toward embracing flaws, imperfections and ‘real’ – and the first selfie is more often the right one because it is, well, what happened.


selfie addictionWe adults may not like what we see.

We adults may wonder what they are thinking when we see some selfies.

We adults may question taste or the decision to show something.

But if we adults don’t believe they know exactly what they are doing or the repercussions of what they have decided to share.

We are nuts.

And even more nuts?

Again. We would have done the same thing they are doing if we had the same tools they do now.

And our parents would have been tearing their hair out just as we are today.

Selfies are self-expression.

And they are absolutely about controlling self-image.

And in that we see the ups & downs of growing up in real time. And while we adults know that, for the most part, growing up is a harsh phase, it gets better. So. Simply shaking our heads with disapproval at selfies with that knowledge is a simplistic response which only suggests to young people that <a> we don’t get it, or <b> we have forgotten what it was like, or <c> we don’t respect what they are going thru.

In my mind, selfies are simply a different version of a daily diary.

The thoughtful, questioning, sometimes painful words have risen from private pages and become public images.

I imagine I end there because as adults we then question the public versus private decision.

And think ‘some things are better private.’



But is our version of private the right version?

Is it not personal taste?

And is it not inevitably our choice … and shouldn’t someone have the right to their individual choice?

And who am I to judge someone’s individual choice? <answer: no one>

And, I would also note, in a 24/7 internet world I am actually unclear what private and public is anymore and whatever we ‘want’ truly matters in a world of ubiquitous smartphones.

My point is we adults need to get over it.

Selfies may stay.

Selfies may go.

They may evolve through things like Tiktok or even the metaverse.

The new private may simply be a public version of ‘you.’

In the scheme of things, does it really matter?

In the scheme of society and being part of the fabric of thoughts, ideas and progress, maybe your image, your selfie, is part of the collage of what will make us collectively stronger and maybe its the young, and their selfies, who are showing us the way? Ponder.

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Written by Bruce