Notes to self; A Review

Notes to self; The Visual Culture of Selfies in the Age of Social Media

Author: Derek Conrad Murray

In Notes to self: the visual culture of selfies in the age of social media, Derek Conrad Murray writes about his interest in the ‘selfie’ and how it has impacted on post-feminist culture. Originating in 2002, on an online forum, the term selfie is used to describe the act of taking a photograph of oneself. In this text, Murray explores how ‘selfie’ culture has become compulsive. Selfies are taken in there thousands on a range of devices such as; smart phones, tablets, laptops and digital and film based cameras. This enables an increased level of human interaction through social media, especially when coupled with text based communications. Murray brings our attention to how young woman are being unfairly focused on for engaging in this particular wave of self-portraiture. Although woman are said to make up more than half of the U.S social media population, the act of selfie taking for these woman has received judgement, sarcasm and derision. With some claiming that the self expressive ritual is only for those woman with a poor outlook on their lives and who have a low self-esteem. A point of contradiction; ‘The production of the self takes centre stage, but also a contradictory mix of vulgarity and radicalism; one where a young girl will post a sexually provocative self-portrait and then defiantly follow-up with an impassioned written diatribe about rape and the abuses of women.’ Murray argues however, that instead of titillation, this particular gesture is not meant for the male gaze and should not be ridiculed. Rather, this act is designed to empower and embrace femininity by celebrating history and campaigning to reject unhealthy beauty standards instead of upholding them.

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