Our Selfies, Ourselves

By Marx, Rebecca Flint | Wired, November 2017 | Go to article overview

Our Selfies, Ourselves


Marx, Rebecca Flint, Wired


OUR SELFIES, OURSELVES

Selfie or usie? Mayfair or Lo-Fi? Bathroom mirror or driver's seat? In her new book, The Selfie Generation , writer Alicia Eler combines memoir, cultural criticism, and historical analysis to explore the phenomenon, from its roots in self-portraiture to its current position in the zeitgeist. "The selfie is grossly misunderstood," Eler says. "Critics like to use it as evidence that millennials are stupid and narcissistic, but they fail to contemplate the versatility of the form." We asked the selfie semiotician to interpret these celebrity shots--though can anyone ever really understand what's going on with James Franco?

Samuel L. Jackson

"This is a typical 'usie' or 'groupie' photo. A celeb who constantly posts selfies might be accused of being lonely or self-absorbed. Here, Jackson is showing he's social with a capital S; he's messaging that he knows how to have a good time."

Lindsay Lohan

"This is a classic meta selfie: The reflection in her sunglasses lends a heightened visual awareness. The car selfie is less deliberate than the bathroom selfie in that it's usually taken out of boredom. But the car can also be a class-related signifier. …

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