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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Selfitis: The new epidemic?

From the high and mighty to the common man, everyone is fond of clicking selfies- be it with their favorite stars, best friends, families, holidays, food parties, gyms and every other possible context which can be captured in a click. From the famous Oscar selfie to Pope to Obama to NaMo, it is the ‘new rage’, the ‘new cool quotient’.

Of late the craze for clicking selfies has been creating mayhem across the globe, or may I phrase it as madness, in some cases. We all are familiar with that certain someone who intends on capturing every waking moment of their lives with a pout or a grin and exhibiting it on the social networking sites, to face the tough litmus test. They even have a specific expression set aside, ready to be plastered on a whim that very smartphone is pulled out. This may seem as a trivial matter and more so, as a ridiculous one, being associated with an addiction of self-portraits, but in the eyes of the American Psychiatric Association and countless others, an addiction to selfies may be accounted as a mental disorder. Surprised? Moreover, the association has endeavored towards attributing this addiction with a term called “Selfitis”.

The APA defined selfitis as, “the obsessive-compulsive disorder to take photos of one’s self and post them on the social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap of intimacy, and has been categorized into three levels: borderline, acute and chronic”. Glancing into these categorizations further, if you’re taking up to three selfies a day but not posting them on social media, consider yourself borderline. If you’re posting at least three selfies of yourself on social media, think yourself as an acute. And if you’re experiencing an uncontrollable urge to take up and post up to six photos a day, well, congratulations, you have chronic selfitis.

The story of Danny Bowman, a British teen exemplifies the worst case scenario of selfie mania- snapping over 200 photos a day, he didn’t leave his house for 6 months, during which he lost 30 pounds and dropped out of school. Growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to capture the perfect selfies, he eventually tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, similar to his quest of seizing an impressive selfie, he failed in doing so.

We live in a society that is triggered by an infinite pursuit of superficial perfection that can never be attained entirely. In a world, where people are inclined towards undergoing plastic surgeries and body enhancements in an attempt to be an appropriate convulsion in the society, foregoing things like knowledge and experience in their sole focus on living life to its fullest may seem a bit too idealistic. Showing off our first home cooked meal, debuting a new haircut, boasting our monthly progress at the gym, selfie-takers measure the social acceptance by the number of 'Likes' these photos receive.

Whether it is getting ready for a day at work, going shopping, or for a night on the town, there are numerous opportunities when the impulse to click a selfie may arise. But people seem to be in such a rush to glorify their images that they don’t engage themselves in thinking about the rationality and safety behind. According to a report in Washington Post, most numbers of selfie deaths in the world have occurred in India. For instance, the sad demise of 16 year old Dinesh Kumar who wanted to take a selfie next to a speeding train or the death of the three young girls who were swept into the Arabian Sea while taking selfies in Bandstand in Bandra, prompting the Mumbai police to identify 16 “non-selfie zones’ across the city; are indicators of how the selfie craze has moved to a dangerous level. Then there are people who treat selfies as an exuberant wonder and actually transform it into a mockery. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan recently said that "he was disgusted at the insensibility of young fans who surrounded him and started clicking selfies while he was attending the cremation of a friend". A young medical student in Mexico took a smiling selfie next to a seriously ill elderly woman lying on the bed.

I am aware of the fact that especially in regards to us, the millennial generation, phone addiction is a thing. But, now the selfie addiction and that too, to the extent of a disorder has completely blown me away. Maybe in the attempt of enjoying our lives to the fullest, we are losing our perspectives. Maybe we are totally wasting our times in wishful engagements, instead of doing something worthwhile. Maybe, it’s time to ponder upon ourselves, as being selfie maniacs or as individuals who don’t seek approvals and commentaries from others to live a happy life.



Written by Chhavi Minhas
“A free spirit, dreamer and admirer of this puzzle called life”


 
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