Love thy #selfie: What's behind the self-portrait trend sweeping the Middle East?
As the number of selfies appearing online continues to increase, Dubai selfie lovers explain what the big deal is about, while experts question whether the trend portrays self-confidence or is a cry for help
As of press time on Saturday evening, more than 108 million Instagram photos have been hash-tagged #selfie and, according to a study from the Pew Research Centre, 91 per cent of teens have posted a photo of themselves online.
The most re-tweeted post in history is a selfie taken during the Oscars by comedian and TV host Ellen Degeneres featuring celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence. Also, celebrities and teens are not the only ones taking selfies. President Barak Obama is doing it and even the Pope is doing it.
But, as more selfies appear on the internet, experts are questioning if they are becoming an obsession.
According to a British daily, teenager Danny Bowman, 19, became so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie that he tried to kill himself when he failed to do so. Bowman reportedly spent 10 hours a day taking up to 200 photos of himself on his iPhone.
Another case was reported in the US, where Los Angeles talent agent Triana Lavey paid $15,000 (Dh55,093) to alter her chin and nose because she hated the way she looked in her selfies and other online pics.
Some psychologists warned that taking lots of selfies are a symptom of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), an anxiety disorder that causes sufferers to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.
In a first such study, experts have linked selfies with mental illness and have suggested that people regularly searching for the perfect angle from which to portray themselves could, in some cases, be ill.
To learn more about what UAE selfie lovers think about the trend, Gulf News spoke to people voted by their friends on social media as selfie-obsessed.
Dalia Al Moghazy, 23, who takes five to 10 selfies during regular days and more than 10 selfies on special occasions, says she is obsessed but does not believe taking selfies should be considered a disorder.
“I believe a disorder is something that harms you or the people around you and selfies don’t do that. I think people who don’t look good in selfies decided to categorise it as a disorder.”
Dalia said she likes taking selfies because she is in control of the angle, filter and lighting when taking the picture. “No one better than me knows what I look good in. To me taking selfies gives me a self-esteem boost because I am posting photos I look good in instead of others posting pictures of me that I might not like.”
Jordanian Mohammad Nimer, 24, on the other hand said he posts selfies for fun.
“I don’t think I am obsessed but my friends do. I mostly take them during weekends when I am out with my friends, all trying to squeeze in one photo is just more fun than asking someone to take a photo of us.”
Nimer, who is a photographer, said he also likes taking selfies because he does not like other people taking photos of him as it makes him uncomfortable.
Nisreen Al Dajani, who claims to be obsessed with selfies, said she takes five daily and more than 20 on weekends.
“Whenever I wear nice clothes and have make-up on I get the urge to take a selfie because I want people to see my outfit. I feel if I don’t take a selfie my outfit goes to waste.”
Nisreen said she is only obsessed with taking the perfect picture at the moment when she is actually trying to take the photograph. But she does constantly think about it.
Eighteen-year-old Farah Al Ramahi said she takes around 50 selfies a week.
“To be honest I think I take selfies because everyone is doing it and it is the trend right now. I think it is a fad that will go away with the emergence of other trends. ”
Al Ramahi said all her friends at school take selfies religiously and she believes celebrities and the song #Selfie by the Chainsmokers made selfies popular.
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