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Making Selfies/Making Self: Digital Subjectivities in the Selfie
Katie Warfield (author)
The contemporary and rising trend of the “selfie,” or self-portrait shared online through social media, has rarely been studied. When addressed, selfies by young women are criticized by mass media as acts of narcissism and self-absorption. Selfies, and the social critique of selfies, however, can be analyzed as the products of a complex set of embedded power systems. First, the selfie must be viewed as a product of our technological times as it necessitates a specific combination of new technologies: the front-facing camera on a mobile phone, photo-manipulation software and social media on the internet. Second, selfies and the social critique of selfies, must be analyzed through the historically patriarchical trajectory of self-portraiture and the embeddedness of the male gaze. Third, the capitalist underpinnings of pervasive mass media images of the female body are also important to this analysis. Rather than narcissism, the process of taking, analyzing, editing and posting selfies is an active and therapeutic negotiation of a girl’s self-image made amidst the stormy forces of technology, patriarchy, capitalism, mass media, peers, and personal agency.
Social Psychology and Interaction
Sociology of Culture
Warfield, Katie. Making Selfies/Making Self: digital subjectivites in the selfie. On-site presentation at the Fifth International Conference on the Image and the Image knowledge Community, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany. October 29-30, 2014.