Selfies: A case study

I’ve decided to do my case study paper on “selfies.” A selfie is a self-portrait typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone and then uploaded to a social media website. It was recently named the 2013 World of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. The popularity of selfies has exploded, with it becoming a familiar term for anyone using social media websites.

Selfies are commonplace on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which encourage the sharing and “liking” of material.

Selfies interest me because they are a form of self expression, yet they are ruled by the social norms of a certain society. People feel free to post selfies without that much judgement, yet they must adhere to certain aesthetic rules for the selfies themselves. Despite the term first appearing in 2002, according to Oxford Dictionaries officials, the term has become part of normalized speech for anyone connected to the cyber world.

I want to connect this with Roland Barthes notion of the myth. Selfies stem from a long history of photography. Yet the myth around selfies are devoid of any of the histories which influenced its creation. Furthermore, selfies are an extension of the male gaze, which I want to connect to Foucualt and his notions of truth and power. Since selfies are a creation of a capitalist society, I can also bring in concepts of Marx, and how selfies can reflect a greater social movement within society.

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