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

R29 Original Series