We love to narrow turning points in history to certain years. When we think of 1939, we think World War 2, we when think 2001, we think 9/11 terrorist attacks and we think 2008, we think the global financial crisis. Each of these years had far-reaching impacts on the countries affected and the wider world.
However, there are some years that only later do we recognise as pivotal years in history. For me, 2010 has to be one such year. It was the year the iPhone 4 came out – the first with a front-facing camera. Now everyone had the ability to easily photograph themselves, that is, take a selfie. Then with the launch of Instagram later that year, a platform was created to distribute such images to the world.
It’s not just the domain of teenagers, I’ve even found myself using the front-facing camera as a mirror and noticing flaws in my skin! I then take a photo, zoom in, get paranoid, and think of ways of “correcting” the flaws. Thankfully, I grew up pre-social media so I don’t post selfies on social media. But for others it is perfecting natural to do so, and getting “feedback” on their selfies is half the reason for taking them. It doesn’t take a giant leap to see how quickly one’s physical form could trump all else in one’s sense of self. We’re in a troubling era, and it all started in 2010.