What is a selfie?
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A few months ago, an article in The Adobo Chronicles invaded the web and made society question whether or not they should consider themselves safe from their own selfies. The article centered upon the jarring revelation that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had defined selfie-taking as a serious mental disorder.However, if you find it hard to believe that the APA would actually add a disease called “Selfitis” to their books, that’s because it is.

While we’ve all poked fun at our selfie obsessed friends and suggested that they get psychiatric help for their “condition” at one point or another, the concept of "Selfitis" is truly nothing more than an immature online hoax. With the popularity of satirical sites like The Onion and The Adobo Chronicles, it’s no surprise that this particular article spread over the web like wildfire.Moving forward, Selfitis has undoubtedly been identified as a hoax—debunking truth from fiction is no longer the issue. The real issue here is discerning what the huge level of controversy and attention that the concept attracted says about our generation’s relationship with the selfie.  

Such heavy reactions to the article demonstrate how many of us believe, and even agree, that selfie-taking can and does give rise to problematic emotions and behaviors. For many of us, achieving the “perfect” selfie has become a meticulous process. After making sure that our every hair is in place, our smiles polished, and our muscles flexed or tummy tucked, it can be disappointing and exhausting to flip our smart phones back around, only to find a less-than-satisfactory version of ourselves staring back.

Attempt after numerous attempt, many of us can sorely attest to coming away from our own personal photo shoots annoyed and empty-handed. But, by what standards are our efforts fruitless? Whose metaphorical picture frame are we trying to fit ourselves into? Often, it is our own. While there is no doubt that the media asks us to hold ourselves to highly unrealistic expectations, it is we who decide to— or not to—hold ourselves to their standards.  If our obsession is snapping picture after picture to impress people other than ourselves, then The Adobo Chronicles might have been right in pointing out the problematic nature of the selfie phenomenon.

However, if selfies more than naught function to serve as an outlet for self expression, friendly appreciation and harmless recognition, the idea of “Selfitis” might be a long way off. It is up to us to take back the selfie, to redefine what it has actually come to represent for us as a generation. It is up to us to take our selfies for fun, for enjoyment, for ourselves. For, when it becomes something bigger and more serious than that, it seems we risk having older generations identify a need for psychiatric help. 

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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