Reading List: Believe in Your Selfie

Emily Perper is a word-writing human for hire. She blogs about her favorite longreads at Diet Coker.

I’m tired of middle-aged white dudes critiquing my generation as selfish and narcissistic. Often, the selfie is held up triumphantly as the very symbol of our self-degradation. Here, four other, more intelligent perspectives on selfie culture:

1. “A Good Angle is Hard to Find.” (Sarah Hepola, The Morning News, September 2013)

The author, a self-identified “selfie enthusiast,” simultaneously critiques and defends the selfie phenomenon. She explains that selfies allow her to capture her solitary travels and control how her life looks, while acknowledging the complaints of narcissism.

2. “The Young-Girl and the Selfie.” (Sarah Gram, Textual Relations, March 2013)

Gram looks at selfies in light of capitalism: “In an economy of attention, it is a disaster for men that girls take up physical space and document it, and that this documentation takes up page hits and retweets that could go to ‘more important’ things. And so the Young-Girl must be punished, with a disgust reserved for the purely trivial.”

3. “Snaps of America.” (Larissa Pham, Full Stop, September 2013)

A cross-country road trip, a modern-day archivist, a Wendell Berry poetic analysis—Pham marvels at the Midwest and stakes her claim to memory in this piece.

4. “In Praise of Selfies: From Self-Conscious to Self-Constructive.” (Casey N. Cep, Pacific Standard, July 2013)

This piece touches briefly on several aspects of the discussion surrounding selfie culture, including its roots in self-portraiture, the opportunity to escape the male gaze and the tension between aspiration and authenticity.

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Photo by Larissa Pham