Fun

All By My Selfie

What your GPOYs say about you.

Once upon a time, taking a picture of yourself was hard. It was so hard that it was called a “self-portrait,” and you had to hold a camera with film inside of it at arm’s length, push down on the button, and hope you had managed to get yourself in the frame. You used up a bunch of pictures in the process, and then you had to go get it developed at Walgreens, which took between one and three days if you weren’t willing to pay the exorbitant fee for one-hour development (and you were not).

You were helpless. After the camera’s flash went off, you were left with no clue as to how the pictures looked. There were no second chances, no handy delete buttons or quick redos with better hair and no blinking. And you could be sure the gangly adolescent boy who worked behind the counter (and also went to your school) would be the first person to see every last frame.

Now we have digital cameras. And since digital cameras come standard on most phones, and they have a reversible screen with which to better regard ourselves, we can take endless pictures and instantly show them to everyone else on Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat. These self-portraits are now just called selfies, a shorthand that betrays how easy they are to create, the most casual thing in the world. Everyone—everyone—takes them.

We love to take pictures of ourselves (And why shouldn’t we? We are smokin’). Selfies are a way to show other people the person we’d like them to see. But the funny part is: even though everybody loves to take them, it’s still hard for some of us to own up to the fact that we’re taking a picture of ourselves expressly for people to see. It can feel a little silly. It can feel a little vain. We are not just aware that we are taking a picture of ourselves, we are hyper-aware, and so while taking the picture, it’s like we’re floating above our bodies, objectively watching ourselves take a picture of ourselves and judging our poses from an outsider’s perspective. And we are aware that other people are aware that this is a very self-conscious and choreographed decision. This is where selfies get weird.

The great-grandaddy of hahaha-you’re-taking-a-picture-of-yourself websites was the now-defunct antiduckface.com, where the website owners nastily made fun of people (usually women) doing this face.

duckface classic

This is Duckface. Everybody do it together! Raise the camera above your face. Tilt your chin coyly down or aggressively up. Stick your lips out as far as they can go, and pretend you’re a duck or a trout or a Victoria’s Secret model. HAWT.

I imagine it caught on because it slims your face and makes your cheekbones stand out, but it has been so ridiculed that by now almost no one does it for real, unless they’re doing Duckface to prove that they know Duckface exists.

Duckface can be exponentially douchified with an added gang sign, or just fingers arranged in a way that they look like they might be a gang sign.

duckface douche (1)

But selfies don’t stop here, and they get better. There’s a whole world of selfies out there. They are an art and a science, friends, and if we’re going to bombard our friends and family with them, we must get each type of selfie down pat, to make sure the essence and meaning of each is lost on no one.

 

The Shot From Above

image (7)

A timeless classic, the Shot From Above is as old as Duckface, and it’s important to have this one in your repertoire, because this is how you will fool people into thinking that you are actually an anime drawing personified. Almost exclusively the selfie of choice for profile pics on online dating sites, this pose makes your eyes look huge, your face slender and chiseled, and your chin a li’l bit pointier. It’s basically what a low-flying pigeon would see if he looked down. Bonus points if you run it through a filter to make your skin as poreless as a doll’s.

The Mirror

the mirror

The Mirror selfie is harder than it looks. Not only do you have to position the camera just right, but you will likely have a weird/uncomfortable expression on your face (see above). That’s because we are in meta territory. This is a picture of you blatantly taking a picture of yourself. The mirror also adds a kind of harsh reality to your selfie game, like a still from a grim documentary, because it is usually done in terrible bathroom lighting.

HOWEVER! We soldier onward, because sometimes we are wearing something cute and it would be a crime not to show others exactly what sweater clips are for, y’know?

(Note: While lots of people do this selfie to show off their outfits, I’ve noticed that some boys/men prefer to do this one with their shirts off and a coolly challenging expression, like, Yeah, I’m taking a picture of myself. Here are my nipples in a poorly lit gym—enjoy.)

The Shoe Shot

the shoe shot

The Shoe Shot makes a bold statement. It keeps the viewer firmly planted in the now. It says: Here are my feet today. Right this second, this is what I am doing. I am allowing you to follow my life in real time, to see what I see from my point of view. Today, I am wearing cute shoes I want you to notice in a setting that I want you to see, like a porch (lazy Sunday, y’all!) or the beach (you jelly?). Don’t you want to know what the rest of me is doing? Of course you do. But this is all you get.

The Ironic Selfie

image (6)

The Ironic Selfie is complicated. Perhaps you have a new pair of glasses to show off. Perhaps you haven’t taken a selfie in several days and you can’t think of a good excuse to take a new one. Yet selfie you must, so you protect your innermost self from accusations of narcissism by making a face, as if to say, “Yes, world, I may be taking a picture of myself, but you know what? I don’t take myself that seriously, and I’m making a face to prove it. No, for real, I don’t even want to be in this picture. That I took.”

The FaceTime Selfie

facetime selfie (1)

The FaceTime Selfie is the direct result of watching yourself out of the corner of your eye as you chat or Skype online with your friends. It’s impossible not to stare at yourself onscreen, which is why you start looking at yourself even more, going IS THIS HOW I LOOK WHEN I TALK OH MY GOD? It feels illicit, like something you’re not supposed to be seeing, because you’re supposed to be looking at the other person you’re having a conversation with, like a human being. But the movement of your magnificent self catches your eye, and suddenly you’re all “I love chatting with you, but I’m just noticing that I am looking preeetty good right now, gimme one sec here while I take a screenshot… OK, sorry, what were you saying about getting dumped?”

The Sleeper

the sleeper

The Sleeper is inexplicably popular. No one can explain it. No one finds it believable that someone is soooo cute when they sleep that the other person they were with simply had to document the moment, and yet I see it in my Instagram feed almost every morning.

Here, I am very clearly asleep, you guys—look how peaceful and not-at-all-drooly I look when I’m sleeping!—and it is clear that someone else who is not at all me (probably my ADORING GIRLFRIEND—god, what a creeper) took this photo of me sleeping adorably, without my knowledge, as I could not have done it, because look at me. I’m dead to the world.

Bonus points for a legitimately snoozing animal curled up next to you while you pretend to sleep.

The This-Isn’t-a-Selfie Selfie

not a selfie

I most definitely did NOT take this picture, either. My, um, friend did. My friend who was sitting very close to me. While we had coffee. While I had mascara on.

Really nailing this selfie means you have to think outside the box. You need movement, you need to set the scene, you need props. HOW CAN WE MAKE THIS BELIEVABLE, people? You must try to catch your fine self in the very act of living life.

The Artistic Half-Face

image (8)

Like a half-moon, this selfie is rare but magical. Beloved by photographers who know that the Half-Face makes it look like someone snapped a picture of you looking casual at a party, it radiates mystique. We are all our own Mariahs, knowing we are best captured from a certain side.

To do this, it is crucial to compose your face in a way that makes it clear that you are looking way off in the distance, utterly unaware of the camera’s critical gaze.

The Nerd

image (9)

The Nerd is the exact opposite of what it’s proclaiming to be. When done properly, it lets others know that while you may be totally killin’ it in those big glasses (the sign of a true nerd, amirit?), you are tooootally not a nerd. Even if you actually are a big, awesome nerd, you’re really not, because you can loosen up and goof around with stereotypes for this composition.
 

There are so many more types of selfies—the Couple-Kiss, the Bikini, the Crier, the New Haircut, the Unfunny Comic (a selfie in four parts). We haven’t even scratched the surface. But it’s an impossible task. There’ll be a whole new crop of ’em tomorrow. ♦

62 Comments

  • Shannon May 8th, 2013 3:20 PM

    Don’t forget the unflattering-as-possible Snapchat selfie! ;)

  • elliecp May 8th, 2013 3:27 PM

    I am guilty of almost all of these. most commonly I use the high angle, where you hold the camera high and look up into it, as it makes your eyes look MASSIVE, however it also makes your arms ache :(

    I also have a few dodgy 12year old pictures of myself duck facing and peace signing. Thank god for puberty, eh?

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • trollbogies May 8th, 2013 3:30 PM

    This is fantastic. The “Ironic Selfie” is totally my go-to selfie. I’m not confident enough to try to look pretty in a picture because I usually end up looking like a dick, so I make a face.
    Another selfie I encounter a lot is the “Nose/mouth/chin” selfie. I saw the instagram of a girl from my high school and I kid you not, 75% of her selfies were of her nose/chin/mouth area (smiling or not).

  • umi May 8th, 2013 3:32 PM

    i didnt know they were called selfies until like 2 weeks ago i always called them selcas ( like self camera ) idk idk

    • Maryse89 May 9th, 2013 12:51 AM

      are you by chance…a KPOP fan? because whenever KPop idols take pictures of themselves, they always call them ‘selcas’…which is where I heard that first

  • Josefina May 8th, 2013 3:34 PM

    You just reminded me of my very first selfie:

    http://i42.tinypic.com/2yv4ebt.jpg

    Whaddaya think? I’m (not) digging the double chin from staring down at the camera a bit too hard. At least my eyes are open!

    I’d love to see more film selfies if anyone else has them (props if they’re taken 10+ years ago). :]

    • Cristina May 8th, 2013 5:09 PM

      Oh my god, bless you for posting this beauty. 10/10 A+

    • Pashupati May 22nd, 2013 7:21 PM

      You were adorable, but it makes me laugh :)

  • azultardis May 8th, 2013 3:44 PM

    the mirror selfie is my jam hahaha

  • myriam May 8th, 2013 3:47 PM

    sometimes i just feel like my selfies are 2 real to be shared with the world. they can’t handle the intensity y’know?

    • glitter riot May 11th, 2013 3:35 PM

      I feel you grrrl. I’m always afraid that when I post one it will just cause a huge uproar and I just don’t have time to deal with that in my life right now. Face 2 face only plz.

  • mayaautumn May 8th, 2013 3:53 PM

    omg this is brill!and yep you cant forget the unflattering snapchat selfie;)

    http://mayathapapaya.wordpress.com

  • Ree May 8th, 2013 4:03 PM

    Haha I’ve actually never taken a selfie and I’m really embarrassed so maybe I’ll take one soon

    • indaslicht May 8th, 2013 4:58 PM

      they’re really fun i promise

    • GlitterKitty May 8th, 2013 7:51 PM

      Me neither! I thought I was the only one! Even my 5 year old cousin takes selfies… (Which are completely hilarious)

      • Ree May 14th, 2013 11:09 AM

        The fire alarm went off at school last week and I took my first selfie on the way out of the building, pretty emotional

        • chemassy May 28th, 2013 12:23 AM

          Bless you for remembering your priorities!!

  • Mimi7 May 8th, 2013 4:05 PM

    Haha, this is so true! Selfies are such a weird but addicting habit.

    http://dreaminginfashion.wordpress.com/

    P.S. This post title is so clever :)

  • katiestarrynight May 8th, 2013 4:07 PM

    Yes! Amazing!
    Katie xx
    http://thegravityandshe.blogspot.co.uk

  • unicorn May 8th, 2013 4:10 PM

    THE MYSTERIOUS HALF FACE IS MY JAM.
    Most of my selfies are half face or three quarter face, because if you duckface very slightly (veryvery slightly), it will define your cheekbones WITHOUT making you look you are actually duckface-ing. Because it isn’t a full frontal shot. And if you opt for three quarter, your eyelashes will shadow against the wall and look gigantic.
    Pure magic. Almost as flattering as anime from above angle.

  • Emma Dajska May 8th, 2013 4:10 PM

    your glasses! ALL OF THEM! <3

  • Kimono Cat May 8th, 2013 4:15 PM

    Dear Krista: You are perfect in every single way. Never change. That goes especially for your sweater pins ;)

    • Kimono Cat May 8th, 2013 4:20 PM

      OMG, I forgot my blog url!! How will people who think my comment is amazing find my perfect blog, which I have only ever posted on like, five times?!!! ROFLASGVFj=*
      *Disclaimer: The intensity of this comment is an attempt at humor.

      slightly-surreal.blogspot.co.uk

  • OonaTuna May 8th, 2013 4:31 PM

    This article is actually just the story of my life

  • taste test May 8th, 2013 4:52 PM

    funny article! I know many people from my high school who still un-ironically duckface. but I think that could say more about where I went to high school than the state of the trend :P

  • Chloe22 May 8th, 2013 5:55 PM

    HOW COULD YOU FORGET THE ”I’m standing next to my One Direction poster and kissing Niall/Liam/Harry/Louis/Zayn” SELFIE?! I do it all the time ;)
    http://rhinestonemoon.blogspot.com/

    • TessAnnesley May 8th, 2013 10:13 PM

      i love this comment
      (also dude i just went on your blog that you linked there and your purple velvet coat thing makes me die of jealousy – my hair’s the same colour!)

  • Isil May 8th, 2013 6:16 PM

    I remember I was addicted to the shot from above when I was younger. When I first discovered the internet… I haven’t got a smart phone and neither an instagram account right now. But if I had, I would definitely post selfies even weirder than everything above… I just can’t even imagine.

    http://isilnoir.wordpress.com

  • abby111039 May 8th, 2013 6:21 PM

    I’m incredibly guilty of using the Shot From Above one. I even put it through a filter. I’m terrible, I know. :P

  • Rutabagas May 8th, 2013 6:30 PM

    There’s always the hipster-ish Camera-In-Front-of-Face-in-Mirror Selfie. I can’t judge; I’m guilty of that one.

    http://comeseethebrightside.blogspot.com/

  • Eileen May 8th, 2013 6:38 PM

    I love the photos…. and the message!! Also the D.A.R.E mug reminds me of back in the day, so that’s always good
    waitingforeuro.blogspot.com

  • lyssagrltx May 8th, 2013 6:57 PM

    LOVE THIS.

  • Blythe May 8th, 2013 6:58 PM

    My version of “selfie” involves a tripod, a very nice Canon digital camera named Charles, and a lot of running back and forth.

  • emilyowls May 8th, 2013 7:44 PM

    And once, before iPhones were cooler than webcams, there was a webstie known as Dailybooth, dedicated entirely to selfies.

  • Deb Hartstein May 8th, 2013 7:52 PM

    The sweater pins and your sweater and your dress, ohhhhh!

  • Faith May 8th, 2013 9:42 PM

    Ha! This was awesome! I didn’t know there was a name for the ironic selfie, but I find that I do that a lot whenever my friends take pictures of me. Have you guys ever done aegyo selfies??(sort of like the duck face but more innocent?? It’s korean for cute) While my friends get their aegyo on I do the “I don’t care if I look hilarious yet charming yet awesome yet it’s whatever, all at the same time” face!

    http://conformconform.tumblr.com/

  • TessAnnesley May 8th, 2013 10:08 PM

    I just LOVE the fact that “selfie” has caught on as a word – it used to be a vitriolic expression like “oh yeah you’re taking a photo of yourself, oh god” and now it’s kind of cute, like “Oooh, selfie!”

  • TessAnnesley May 8th, 2013 10:10 PM

    SEEEEEELLFFIIIEEEE

  • hollysh May 8th, 2013 11:55 PM

    be my friend so i can borrow all of your awesome outfits and vibe off your general style/amazingness

  • periwinkle_dreams May 9th, 2013 12:57 AM

    I’ve noticed a trend among my friends of doing this sneaky-giant-eyes selfie, in which they furrow their eyebrows and then raise them while widening their eyes, which makes their eyes look really big but more adorably bewildered than creepily stare-y. also, it adds oh-look-I’m-not-even-trying-to-be-attractive-I’m-just-goofing-around-hahaha vibes.

  • sissiLOL May 9th, 2013 3:27 AM

    GENIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    stylebruch.blogspot.de

  • sissiLOL May 9th, 2013 3:29 AM

    I love all the pictures so much! That can be a genial activity for my next BFF-sleepover!
    stylebruch.blogspot.de

  • Mary the freak May 9th, 2013 3:45 AM

    Haha, this made my day! :))

    And don’t forget the leaning-towards-the-camera-so-you-can-see-my-complete-boobs-well-only-pixels-later-and-duuuuckface-ain’t-i-haaawt.

    http://birdiewearsatie.blogspot.com/

  • katmelon May 9th, 2013 4:24 AM

    I love this article but I have an irrelevant question. I want to submit a piece of fiction but it contains a bit of violence and it’s kind of morbid- more specifically it involves a girl sawing off the nose of a man. It certainly doesn’t glorify it and it’s a bit twisted though I wouldn’t consider it super gory, but this site seems to have an audience of younger girls so would it be appropriate? Would you guys publish something like that here? Because if you say no it’s okay I will just edit and restructure it no problem :)

    • Anaheed May 9th, 2013 6:02 AM

      We’d have to see it to say one way or the other — send it in!

  • Tasya May 9th, 2013 5:14 AM

    omg this article is GOLD. hahahah love it!! i actually did something similar last month! (http://vaguevisions.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-taking-perfect-selfie-in.html)

    I’m more of a “iconic selfie” kinda gal. i want to appear too cool to care ya know (but i actually very carefully take extra measures to make sure my hair is in its right place, shirt isn’t crumpled etc etc)

  • Zoe May 9th, 2013 5:43 AM

    I never thought of “The Shoe Shot” as a form of selfie, but I suppose it absolutely is. Which means that I’m guilty of many, many selfies… but how could I possibly not show off my amazing shoes? ;)

  • annamarie May 9th, 2013 6:20 AM

    My webcam folder tells me I have taken 50 new photos this week so far, and I bet 98% of them are selfies (the others being of my pets)

    selfie life

  • pang lu May 9th, 2013 7:44 AM

    ‘The Shot From Above’ that one you look really like Alex Trimble from TDCC!

  • StrawberryTwist May 9th, 2013 7:47 AM

    Hahahahaha this is a great article, it brings me back to middle school days. :)

    http://fashiononfire.org/

  • diniada13 May 9th, 2013 9:09 AM

    My fave is FaceTime selfie lol I could check my hair and make sure my nose is appropriate for general audience before taking selfies xD

    http://sorryimoutofgoodurls.blogspot.com

    • zari May 9th, 2013 11:05 PM

      Omg yes I do this thing all the time haha

  • Maradoll Mynx May 9th, 2013 9:25 PM

    lolol…killer post!

    Let us not forget the “group selfie” where 3 (usually 12 y/o gals or some such age) gather in and stick out their tongues (wtf IS that anyway?!)

  • ashleylynn.nl May 10th, 2013 1:26 PM

    Haha, this article is pretty amazing. It remembers me of a picture that was going viral on facebook, where this girl is “sleeping” but you can see she actually took that picture herself because of the mirror behind her… Anyway, I’m totally guilty of having done some of these myself, hehe, so I probably should shut up.

    http://ashleylynn.nl

    • ashleylynn.nl May 10th, 2013 1:27 PM

      The selfies I mean! Not the “my boyfriend took this picture of me sleeping like a goddess” ones ;)

  • glitter riot May 11th, 2013 3:31 PM

    Krista, I love you and your glasses! This is hilarious, I never thought something so frivolous could be turned into something so categorical and scientific. You just turned the selfie into an art form, I think i’m going to go take a million of them right now. Also, I just thought I should let you know that I go through withdrawl in between every Effing Dykes post, I shit you not. I know you get annoyed when people tell you to post more, but your blog is just so good that I can’t help but beg you to do so. Maybe instead of one every 3 or 4 months, you could increase it to two!?

  • Isinbaevaa May 11th, 2013 5:38 PM

    your so beaut.x

  • abby guia May 13th, 2013 12:49 PM

    tbh i am really guilty of the ironic selfie i put on a rlly unamused n bored face and hold up the ‘west side’ gang sign and boom perfect

  • meels May 19th, 2013 7:49 AM

    haha love this post! can’t believe you missed the ‘look how many chins i got!’ that’s the most common snapchat i receive

  • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake August 3rd, 2013 4:29 AM

    This article is the shit.

    BUT I GOT SO WORKED-UP WHEN I SAW THE FACE-TIME SELFIE BECAUSE HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE BECAUSE YOU CAN SEE ONE ARM SO HOW IS A SCREENSHOT POSSIBLE ARGH SORRY I’LL GO BACK TO MY HOLE NOW.

  • Clementine Rose November 11th, 2013 5:57 PM

    Ah god this is funny!! I mean, seriously- if you’re going to do a sleeping shot, then naturally you MUST be in full makeup at the time. It only makes sense!