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My Selfie, Not Myself

April 16, 2020--

The Oxford online dictionary was the first to recognize the images we take of ourselves—most often at arms length with cell phone cameras or webcams—as selfies in 2002.

Since then the practice of taking selfies has been both praised and assailed for its impact on our sense of importance, belonging, personal privacy and the business of self-making. In this paper I will argue that selfies posted online through apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat, do not give us the freedom to break with the forces that mold us into normative identities. By forces I mean the institutions, such as schools, churches, governments and social media, that call us to our subject positions, largely a patriarchal construct. When we accept a normative identity, we accept the subject positions constructed by these forces.