Why Do We Take Selfies? – Aisling O’Connor

We’ve been named the “Selfie Generation”, the Egotists, the Narcissists, the self-obsessed etc. I could go on but you get what I mean.

“Why do these kids take so many pictures of themselves?”

However, are selfies really a new phenomenon?

There are images of people in Victorian times taking photos of themselves in mirrors or doing the classic group photo by turned the camera around to face themselves. There are drawings of people on cave walls from pre-historic times. For some reason, we have always been captivated by ourselves. Now perhaps there’s more of a “selfie culture” around it and platforms like Instagram and Facebook allows us to share those particularly flattering pictures. Now we have good angles, lighting, filters, Snapchat effects, but the root of it is still the same: we like to take pictures of ourselves.

Perhaps it’s because we only get to see ourselves in the mirror, maybe it’s to show ourselves that we exist just like everyone around us. Maybe we just want to capture ourselves at a particular point in time? Photographs tend to capture memories; a selfie can be a depiction of you at a certain time in our life. I nearly die of embarrassment at the sight the god-awful selfies 15-year-old me thought were the best thing ever. Like red streaks, eyeliner, and covering half my face with my fringe? Really, kid? You don’t even look half as cool as you think you do.

I’d like to think that I won’t look back at the selfies I take now and ask myself why I thought eye-liner flicks and high-waisted everything looked good, but it’s who I am now so even if I do it’s always interesting to see how we evolved and grew.

I’m not vain but I think some people find confidence to be a threat. As a woman, it’s okay to get cat-called, have random men make degrading and sexual comments to me, but God-forbid, I have the confidence to say that I’m happy with my appearance? I get likes on Instagram, and random Indian men trying to DM me, but how dare I say I like a photo of me? Apologies for the Mean Girls reference, but when Regina complements Cady, she says “So you agree, you think you’re really pretty?” after Cady thanks her. When complimented we are expected to respond with “What? No, I’m really not.”.

I used to be so insecure that I wouldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, so learning to love myself is something I worked very hard for and to be quite frank, I’m proud of that. No, I don’t think I’m perfect but I am content with how I am.

I think taking selfies is empowering, I think group-photos capture memories so take those selfies and own it. If the Kardashians can do it, so can you.


Aisling blogs here at This Dream Is Alive, and you should totally check her out! If you have a blog idea or want to get involved, email us at stanzas.limerick@gmail.com 😀



Why Do We Take Selfies? – Aisling O’Connor