**Caution: This article contains content and images that might be disturbing to some.
We’ve all done it before. Your parents probably did it, your neighbours too. Perhaps, even your cat or dog. Okay, or maybe not, but we all know selfies are pretty awesome, and some of us are so addicted to it. There are many types of selfies to explore; whether it’s the dressing room selfie or a selfie you took after working out at the gym, there’s something for everyone.
However, we’ve also been hearing news of people engaging themselves in dangerous antics in an attempt to capture that perfect or unique selfie, only to result in fatal accidents. There are some selfies which are simply a no-go. Reasons vary from personal safety to the detrimental effects and potential repercussions it might have on the community. The onus is upon the individual to understand that such selfies could be seen by 20, if not 200 or 2000 people, including impressionable teens, because the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ effect is often contagious.
1. Thinspiration Selfies
Now, we’re not talking about selfies from a lithe or skinny person. But rather, pro-ana sites (websites supporting anorexia and eating disorders) which post images of unnaturally and dangerously emaciated girls. Selfies which attempt to promote starvation, whether intentionally or not, are not only unhealthy, they’re downright dangerous.
If you’re naturally skinny, that’s fine. But, intentionally promoting this ideal (such as a bikini bridge or bridge gap) to others, especially when it involves unrealistic and harmful methods of attaining, is careless and ignorant. If your hashtags contain the words ‘thinspiration’, ‘bridge gap’, ‘hip bone’, ‘thigh gap’, or the likes of it, it’s wise to trash those selfies.
According to health professionals in a SPH Razor article on AsiaOne, trends such as the bikini bridge may “distort a woman’s self body image and encourage more eating disorders”. Another article on the thinspiration trend, involved 17-year-old Holly Temple from Surrey, UK.
According to dailymail.co.uk, Holly “took pictures of her shrinking frame as motivation to continue to lose more weight”. Even though Holly had used a password protected blog to post her selfies, it resulted in her becoming very critical about her weight. She was diagnosed with anorexia in December 2011, aged 14. At her worst, Holly also engaged in self-harm. She was approximately 38kg at her lightest. Holly has since recovered after seeking professional help and is at a healthy weight now.
2. Self-harm Selfies
People engage in self-harm for varied reasons. But, we’re not here to judge. While it might act as a coping mechanism for some, self-harm is ultimately detrimental and dangerous. Yet youths are constantly posting images of their self-harm injuries, or ‘battle scars’. Much like the pro-ana websites, social networking sites now have communities that encourage self-harming behaviour. That is totally NOT cool.
Whether it’s a cry for help or an attempt to seek approval and sympathy, these selfies normalise and validate self-harming behaviour so that it becomes commonplace, even comforting. The availability of smartphones makes apps like Instagram and Snapchat popular avenues to turn to for what seems like ‘help’ and ‘support’. Some youths even compete with one another after seeing an image of a deeper cut. Dangerous and possibly lethal, yet the phenomenon is still on the rise. Instead of relying on these virtual communities which share pro-harming tips, people engaging in self-harm should seek help from professionals.
3. Lethal Selfies
Yes, these selfies are dangerous to the point of causing death. News these days include selfie-related deaths, which could have been avoided. Instead of taking safe selfies, a few individuals choose to be ‘remarkable’ and ‘unique’ by taking their self-portraits in odd and dangerous instances or places.
Recently, 21-year-old Oscar Otero Aguilar, accidentally shot himself dead in Mexico City, after posing with a loaded gun while in drunken stupor. And then there was the cliff-side selfie deaths involving a Polish couple who fell off a cliff in Portugal, and into the Atlantic Ocean while trying to take a selfie, leaving behind two children. Over in France, we’ve all heard of the man that was trampled by an angry bull in the bull run. His foolish ‘daredevil’ stunt nearly caused him his life.
What’s even more appalling are the futile attempts to click a picture in life-or-death situations. As reported by The Straits Times, “fighter pilots shoot themselves (selfies) while firing missiles, air disaster survivors are clicking selfies while fleeing burning planes.” These lethal selfies could have gone horribly wrong.
Seriously, it’s not worth it. There is no such thing as an ultimate selfie. Moral of the story: Stay safe while shooting your selfies. You’ll have many pleasant lasting memories…and your life.