Todays generation is considered a bunch of narcissists that are so obsessed with themselves they have no concern for social or global issues. Take the ‘selfie’. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is to take a picture of oneSELF. The growth of technology and social media has provided people with the tools to capture their lives and share them with the world. There are valid arguments that the ‘selfie’ is a dangerous phenomenon that encourages the idea that self worth is equal to the approval of others. While these issues may be true it seems only the negative aspects of the ‘selfie’ are highlighted when its positives are just as significant.
On Friday, March 6, 2015 Black Out Day was launched. Using hashtags such as #Blackoutday and #Blackout, the idea was to provide a day of black love all over the Internet by people posting photos, gifs, videos, vines and tweets featuring only people of colour (POC). Beginning as a small idea from a few Tumblr users, the movement gained mass attention with more and more people sharing and reblogging #Blackoutday. Now, this celebration of Black pride, beauty and personal achievements is a monthly 24-hour online event, held the first Friday of every month.
Scrolling through the hashtag on various social media sites it is clear the movement is not about highlighting how pretty someone is, rather about appreciating a group of people that are wrongly judged and mistreated for the colour of their skin. Many contributors to the hastag such as eldiabloszone and slimbit have shared their stories of growing up as a POC. #Blackoutday has reminded them, that their lives matter just as much as anyone else’s.
Similarly charities are using the ‘selfie’ to encourage donations. According to the journal article, ‘Vision charity’s ‘Selfie’ success’ by Optometry Today, Vision Aid Overseas (VOA) raised more than £2,000 in May 2014, by launching Vision Week. Independent opticians, Eyesite, pledged to donate £1 for every ‘seflie’ of someone wearing spectacles, that was posted online with #VisionWeek. A number of celebrities supported the campaign by posting images of themselves in eyewear, with the charity confirming that the initiative received more than 18 million views across all channels.
While there are negative and positive aspects of most things, I think the ‘selfie’ gets an exaggerated bad wrap. It may seem people love themselves more than ever before and are not ashamed to share it with the world in the form of a ‘selfie’, but is it really such a bad thing? The fact that they are aiding charities and creating a movement that helps people feel appreciated and accepted seems pretty amazing to me.
Hixson, B 2015, Tumblr’s #Blackout is the most beautiful movement of 2015, Baewatch, weblog post, 7 March, viewed 8 April 2015, <http://baewatch.net/2015/03/07/tumblrs-blackout-is-the-most-beautiful-movement-of-2015/>.
#TheBlackout Team 2015, Official #BlackOutDay Masterpost, #TheBlackOut –Home of #BlackOutDay, Tumblr post, 29 March, viewed 8 April 2015, <http://tumblr.theblackout.org/post/114966275331/official-blackoutday-masterpost-created-march>.
‘Vision charity’s ‘Selfie’ Success’ 2014, Optometry Today, vol. 54, no. 10, p. 6.