Selfies and Said

Since I’m arguing that selfies are a Western creation with capitalistic ideals, I wanted to use Said’s ideas of orientalism.

Orientalism is a truth regime. It is based on arbitrary geographical lines and defined from a particular position. Orientalism only exists in order for the West to create an identity of the West. Orientalism is also tied to power. Who can create the discourse around Orientalism indicates who holds the power and which statements will be accepted as true.

On social media sites like Instagram, orientalism is prevalent.

Selfies are designed to perpetuate Western ideals of beauty, power and strength. By posting a selfie in which a woman is showing off her body in the gym, we know that symbolizes power and success. We cement this knowledge by the other images posted.

These images are of rolling landscapes in third-world countries. They feature small children in dirty slums and wild, exotic animals hunting for prey. We feature these pictures, through Instagram accounts like NatGeo, next to images of Western ideals in order to show that, yes, Kim Kardashian posing in her designer shoes means success.

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