Lemme talk about selfies

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The selfie, a venerable staple of social media, is also a lightning rod for criticism and derision, undeservedly so.

Smartphones have given people an astounding level of convenience, and because anyone can stop and snap a photo at any time, it has fostered a reactionary feeling of negativity toward the selfie.

A popular knee-jerk reaction is to draw a line between “pride” and “narcissism” as a result.

That isn’t to say there isn’t something distracting about somebody suddenly pulling out their phone and striking a pose for a picture. I’ll admit, there is a reason for the flat irony with which one utters the phrase, “First, let me take a selfie.”

The word selfie conjures up images of teenage girls buried under layers of makeup and making faces, or of muscled-out dudebros showing off their “gains.”

There is a preconception about the word “selfie,” not unlike other such Internet culture mainstays as “social justice” and “prank,” that brings us to the worst possible conclusion based on what we’ve actually seen associated with the word.

That thinking comes from the singular belief that selfies are an exercise in one’s vanity. More often than not they mean much more to the person taking them.

That guy at the gym flexing in front of his camera may have wanted to show how much progress he’s made since he made the decision to start lifting rather than to hold his own physical form over the sensibilities of others.

The girls huddled together making faces may have just hung out together for the first time in months after school and work kept complicating schedules and making quality time between them near impossible.

The pictures lining some kid’s Facebook wall aren’t so much a case study on narcissism but, intrinsically, a timeline showing his progress as he’s matured and become more comfortable with himself as a person.

A picture, at its very core, has always served to capture a moment.

Paired with the convenience provided by smartphones, people are now able to capture those moments faster and more frequently than ever before. No matter how much work someone puts into straightening out their outfit, applying their makeup or trying to find good lighting beforehand, that’s something I will always support.

But first, let me take a selfie.

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