Though selfies have been happening since the early years of photography, the recent advent of sharing the selfie with the virtual world is a rather new and unusual phenom. Somehow, someway it is a result of cultural influences of the 1980s. I am sure of it. The bangs. The leg warmers. Some level of narcissistic disconnect had to carry over from that ten year wrinkle in time.
My curiosity about the history of the selfie took over and I found that the phenom of selfies in a mirror- an even more perplexing occurrence, have no historical explanation, and have no discernible purpose.
I will make my case.
Exhibit A: The 1940s.
This bombshell is clearly not in front of a mirror, nor is she in stretchy pants or her underwear. My internet search provided page upon page of these classic photos with women of a previous generation born with crooked necks who walked around looking sharply to the side. Notice the direction of her eyes. Clearly she is drawing you into her mystery and not assaulting you with excessively exposed corporeal real estate. Selfies are sans mystery. This generation clearly did not culturally create the selfie. Did they have their share of women with insufficient material covering their bodies? Sure. But in this generation it was not the majority of women who fell prey to this tactic of the socially/emotionally desperate.
Exhibit B: The 1970s.
Selfies were physically impossible. Arms were not long enough to get all the hair into the picture. There was not enough time to snap photos after that much teasing. This reveals the necessity of practicality to achieve a proper selfie.
Exhibit C: The 1980s
Need I say it? Any generation that feels it is in the highest and best interest of society to walk out the front door with this atrocity atop their head surely must have created and generationally validated the near-naked selfie. Does it not make perfect sense? I believe that aviation licenses were necessary to fly these hairstyles.
Yep. It was the 1980s.
Please do not think that I am suggesting that we blame our current and future social ills on this generation. We were the first generation of latch-key kids, after all. Our moms were liberated, left home in droves by going to work because they were certain that what we needed more than their attention and guidance was more and better stuff. They thought their discontent was ours. Rather than come home to warm hugs we came home to I Dream of Genie reruns and MTV. We had all afternoon to microwave bacon and think about nothing but ourselves. Someone had to come up with creative, legal things to do whilst unsupervised! We had to get our parents' attention somehow. To compensate for the lack of parental attention we sought the attention of the world around us. Hence the strange hairstyles and over saturation of garage rock bands. Fame was the perfect solution to this hole in our hearts. If not fame, at least becoming highly popular. Unbeknownst to us this created a condition of hyper-focus on the self. The selfie is evidence that we never grew out of our need for attention, and passed it on to our kids. This photographic evidence of perpetual adolescence is even validated at the top of the human food chain:
So, the selfie may be here to stay. Or at least the disturbing echoes of millions of selfies will be immortalized for generations to come. On the bright side, future genealogy research will be easier than ever! Hey, who doesn't want to Google great-grandma Mitzy's cellulite selfie of herself in a bikini in front of her bathroom mirror?
Actually, I don't.
Am I all by my selfie on this?