Williams exploration of Selfies

One of the theorists I’ve decided to use in my case study on “selfies” is Williams and his ideas on dominant culture.

Photography has always been an “elite” art medium simply because the cost is so high. Cameras are expensive and the difficulty of developing the film (until the recent digital camera) has resulted in an exclusive club for those who can afford the materials and can learn the tools of the trade.

However, the smart phone has changed all of this. Now, smartphones are seen as everyday forms of technology for people in vastly different socio-economic classes. Smartphones come with cameras built in and have encouraged the everyday person to engage in photography.

As the dominant culture is controlled and enforced by the dominant class, dominant classes attempted to address the sudden expansion of photography to the masses. By encouraging selfies, a self-portrait uploaded to social media sites, the dominant culture enforces it’s ideals of consumerism and capitalism.

There are rules for selfies. The point is to “brag,” whether that be by highlighting one’s good looks, which equals power in our society and is a form of “social cash,” or posing with signifiers of wealth and success. By the dominant class encourage these sorts of photos from the masses, they enforce smart-phone technology and the expansion of photography to include the masses in a way that benefits the already existing dominant culture (capitalism = buy more, engage in market, build American dream, $$$).

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