Selfies Are Not That Bad. Here’s When I Think They’re Good

Selfie: A word that didn’t exist until recent years (it only made its way to Oxford Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2014) and is a big part of so many people’s lives these days.

I won’t call myself a selfie-fanatic, but I can see why people are hooked on them. We used to rely on others to take a photo for us, and the chances of it turning out as a good one is probably 50:50. Now, with the help of front-cameras and flip screens, we are able to see ourselves and snap a picture according to what we think look good enough to be immortalised as a photo (that we ultimately post onto social media). Another up side? Unlike getting someone else to take a photo for us, we can snap as many photos as we like, without frustrating the photographer.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven't taken photos for a long time before this.

First selfie I took after I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I had been very self-conscious about having no hair, brows and lashes, so I haven’t taken photos for a long time before this. Here, I wore a wig, drew on my brows, and wore eyeliner to conceal the missing lashes, and stepped out of the house for the first time, on a “first date” with my husband after the storm.

While selfies, like Justin Bieber, may be the biggest thing of the decade as far as Millenials are concerned, they also have a bad name for being synonymous with egoism and narcissism.

I admit duck-faces annoy me, and humble-braggarts – those that post a random selfie with a caption that says: 3 people asked if I were a celebrity today – make me mad. I am also not appreciative of Facebook albums that are made up of nothing but 100 photos of you making faces at the camera in the same room, on the same day. But selfies aren’t always bad, and these are when I think they’re great:

1. They serve as a motivator

Fitspo (short for fitsporation) that are posted as a record of your fitness or weight loss journey don’t just inspire others, but more importantly, help you to keep on track. Because you feel more pressured into showing progress and keeping to the regime, it makes you more motivated to work hard at the gym. What’s not okay, though: gym images with full-on makeup; just so you know, exercising with makeup destroys your skin.

2. They are an ice-breaker

Most people wouldn’t believe this, but I am really shy with strangers, and have to try very hard to warm up to them. However, when someone says “Hey, let’s take a selfie!” at appropriate times, it immediately breaks the ice. After all, huddling just to fit into the frame and laughing over the attempt to get as many people as possible in the picture makes for some good interactions. What’s more, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask for your new friends’ Instagram handle or to make Facebook friend requests afterwards!

3. They are a good momento

taiwan selfie

Breakfast at a beautiful hotel we checked into at Taroko Gorges in Taiwan. This was taken during my post-chemo celebratory trip with my brother, and is a “selfie with a story” for me.

I’m not talking about the 100 photos that you took in your room, but those that truly record the events you want to remember, like your best friend’s 30th birthday party or your proposal. Now that we are all armed with smartphones with front cameras, it makes life easier for solo travellers who might want to get a photo of a beautiful moment with themselves in it. After all, what’s the point of snapping a photo of only Eiffel Tower when you can probably find thousands of them on Google images? But hey, none has you in it, so that’s unique!


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