Why We Take Selfies—& Why It's Okay

fw-ss14-bcbg-090513-311-ameliaalpaughPhotographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Ah, the selfie. If there's one artifact of tech-obsessed teen culture that really just kind of drives us bonkers, it's the borderline-narcissistic habit of snapping a photo of oneself in various states of doing absolutely nothing. From Bieber to Obama, the 62 million (and counting!) #selfies tagged on Instagram alone would seem to indicate that this trend is going absolutely nowhere anytime soon.
Luckily (or not), The Huffington Post has conducted a thorough investigation into the history of the selfie (the act of photographing oneself dates back to the use of mirrors and self-timers in the 1800s), as well as the motivation behind the phenomenon. Apparently, like many things in life, there is a perfectly logical, scientific explanation for the fact that we just can't help but post self-portraits for all the world to see. It turns out, the perpetrators of those mirror shots might not be as self-absorbed as they seem: Psychologists connect the selfie to our innate need as humans to connect with others, in order to receive validation and acceptance.
This would suggest that the act of selfie-ing (Is that a word? No?) is a potentially harmful mechanism that reinforces stereotypes imposed by our society. But, maybe there's a positive outcome here. In fact, in the face of millions of images depicting impossibly thin (and white) models and actresses, the increasingly common practice of posting artful, self-consciously confident self-portraits could signal an opportunity to change how we define what is "normal" — and what is "beautiful." So, why not snap away — we're tired of looking at your brunch photos, anyway. (Huffington Post

More from Mind

As told to Amelia Harnish I never imagined I’d be a person who left college the same day I arrived. For me, venturing off to school had high stakes. ...
No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...
On social media, it's easy to catch all sorts of digital diseases, such as FOMO, internet addiction, and anxiety. Facebook and Instagram-wary researchers...