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Let’s Take A Selfie! But Is It Right To Take One, All The Time?

By Kamini Shevgaonkar:

Many individuals I have come across in society try being defined by an invisible tag of appreciation for whatever they are, whatever they look like, whatever they have achieved or whatever they intend to do in life.

Predominantly how an individual looks has superseded everything else.

And what could be much better than you appreciating yourself (as they say – love yourself). I don’t wish to generalise when I say that sometimes we do feel desperation or helplessness when nobody appreciates us, and we land up applauding ourselves to feel a little better.

That’s how I believe the concept of a selfie first came in, where one can be so self-obsessed that they take a Kodak moment and then manifest it to cyberspace. Now, let me analyse the concept of a selfie a little bit.

taking a selfie
Image source: Google+

With the growing availability of the internet and its access to everybody’s personal mobile phones, every being creates a different “I” than the real “I” through a selfie, and it immediately reaches out to the people in the e-world with the self-proclaimed statement, ‘hey, look at me!’

I fail to understand what difference it makes for someone else as to what we look like through an image of ourselves? But no, we are individuals, and from what I understand of people, it’s in our human nature to massage our egos – we like it when people shower us with love. That’s how a selfie worked in the first place, and it is here to stay.

In the context of today’s digitized world, Maslow’s model can be easily replaced by a hierarchy of “virtual” needs – the upper-most self-actualization can be easily replaced by a selfie.

The access to the web world and the emergence of the selfie has changed the whole dynamic of branding oneself and reaching out to people. How I look, what I am, and an unsaid expectation as to “like me” is depicted in the same.

That said, I also believe that taking a selfie is a smart art, and if done well, can do wonders for oneself – may that be a common man or a celebrity or a politician.

Obama taking a selfie with a common man highlights his nature of being connected to his citizens and his ability to gel with the masses.

Celebrities connecting with poor/underprivileged people and doing philanthropy and exhibiting that work on e-space with a selfie puts them in good books of the fans. Selfies in the dating space help prospective lovers know each other better and understand the equation of attraction. I believe that it also helps in decoding the psyche of an individual – adventurous, art lover, fashionista, animal lover, etc. And so a subtle balance can be achieved to keep a good impression.

But I guess every good has a not so good dimension to it.

The latest being taking a selfie at funerals. How can one get so inhuman to even take a pic like that near a dead person? People need to think twice before doing such an act and portraying it on their social media platforms.

Selfies will be wonderful when authentic identities with real people at a real time are seen and not at the cost of offending anyone. But the I, My, Myself trauma haunting everyone all the time on social media can be devastating for an individual, because after all, it is fake happiness created from the expected admiration in the e-space.

And we should also think about the repercussions of such selfies. If there in case a negative feedback or something below expectation, then the individual has a tough time dealing with criticism or accepting it. Basically the real you or the perceived you or the combination of interior and exterior you – is apparently not in the selfie. We may be cheating ourselves in this whole madness of “please like me, I am trying to pose the best”.

A selfie though has achieved a unique position in e-space with its name-inclusion in the official dictionary. It has changed the entire game of individual marketing. After all, we all are social animals. We need people, we need love. A selfie can keep us connected with our family miles away, and we can share our happiness with our loved ones to whom we cannot reach out. A selfie to some extent has helped people know each other very well because our offline and web perceptions are very different. Selfie and the obsession with it will take its due turn in coming times with emerging technologies and human ideas but what we need to understand is the implication of using or misusing it.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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