Oxford Dictionary dubs “selfie” Word of the Year

Oxford Dictionary dubs “selfie” Word of the Year

Selfies are the physical manifestation of the pandemic of narcissism that social media has created. You can’t peruse any Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even Pinterest feed nowadays without coming across at least a couple of selfies. Hell, I’ve even posted a selfie or two.

There is no way to reason that posting a selfie is anything but narcissistic. You wouldn’t post a photo of yourself online for anyone to see if you didn’t think your hair was totally on point that day, or that your eyes look amazing.

The unfortunate thing about social media is that it creates this illusion that our every thought is of the utmost importance. Looking through my own Twitter feed, right now I see tweets about Anna’s crazy dream last night, Beth is so excited that there are smoothie samples on campus, and Ashley can’t wait for a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving. None of these thoughts are groundbreaking, earth-shattering epiphanies. So why do we make them public?

Same reason why we take photos of ourselves in the bathroom mirror.


Not another feminist rant

Not that Ryan Holiday is my favorite person in the world, but his book, Trust Me, I’m Lying has got me nodding my head and scoffing in agreement on every page. I posted last week about the drastic changes in the news industry, using “The Onion”‘s move to an online-only format as a prime example of the effect our Internet/blogging culture has had on the news. I also quoted Holiday on this post.

Well, Holiday, it’s your lucky day. I’m talking about you again.

I keep seeing angry Facebook statuses (stati?) by my female colleagues featuring a brief feminist rant and a link to a controversial, misogynistic blog post. First, it was Matt Forney’s “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem,” then yesterday it was Total Frat Move’s “Why Girls Should Not Cut Their Hair Short.”

I, of course, saw my friends share these ridiculous posts and, like hundreds of other people, clicked on them to read them. Of course I was livid. Of course I hate the authors’ guts. I know I’m not alone in these sentiments, because Forney’s post has over 2000 comments, and TFM’s has reached over 400 comments in just one week. And they all say (basically) the same thing.

I’m not going to waste time dissecting the posts. I just wanted to bring up the fact that the authors of these posts got exactly what they wanted. Clicks.

Ryan Holiday admitted to performing stunts like this in his media manipulator days as well. It’s a tactic he knows all too well. Make people hate you by doing something controversial, and everyone will talk about you. And, in the end, that’s what these blogs want. It doesn’t matter to them if a comment is negative or if it’s in agreement. A comment is a comment. A pageview is a pageview.

So, ladies…

I know you’re trying to get these douchebags the bad rep they deserve, but you’re actually doing them a solid. Ignore the idiocy, and, hopefully, it will go away.

Terrifyingly distasteful Halloween costumes

It’s almost Halloween, my favorite time of year… and before I’ve even started the seasonal festivities, I’m already brought down by some… disappointing (to put it lightly) costume choices. People are (rightfully) fuming. Trust me, it’s all over my Twitter feed.

Let’s start first with Julianne Hough’s costume no-no. The actress dressed up as Crazy Eyes from the popular show, “Orange is the New Black” for a Halloween party last Friday. That costume idea alone wouldn’t have been so bad, if it weren’t for the fact that Hough went so far as to wear blackface as part of her costume, which made social media users respond via Twitter rants and Facebook bashings. Hough has since apologized for her serious lack of judgment.

Julianne Hough has since apologized for dressing up as Crazy Eyes from 'Orange is the New Black' on Friday.

The character in the show is played by an African American woman, Uzo Aduba.

Next, and more disturbing, are the photos circulating the Internet of (white) people dressing up as Trayvon Martin. There have been a few different photos going through the social media vine, but almost all of them look the same. White men dressed in hoodies with Skittles and iced tea in their hands and a bloodstain on their chest. Oh, and they’re wearing blackface too. Aside from the shockingly casual use of blackface we’ve seen here, do I really need to explain what else is wrong with this costume?

Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February of last year.

Blackface was used in the 19th Century as entertainment for working-class white Americans. Minstrel performers would paint their faces black and sing songs, and these performances grew more and more racist over time.

Just because almost 200 years have passed since these racist shows were used for entertainment does not make it acceptable to bring them back. The history of blackface makes it impossible to be thought of as a joke, no matter how much time has passed.

Roxanne Gay’s article in the Opinion section of the L.A. Times hit the nail on the head:

“I choose to believe the[se people] don’t know how blackface was used to create offensive, degrading caricatures of black people — the exaggerated features, the buffoonery, the shuck and jive. The imagery from the 20th century was emblazoned across advertising and children’s toys. Time and again, black people in this country were told: ‘This is how we see you. This is what we think of you.’ Very little has changed.

Racist Halloween costumes are nothing new. Each year, people try to push the envelope. They think they’re being funny, but really, they’re using the freedom of Halloween, the pass we all get to indulge our secret selves, to say, to people of color: ‘This is how we see you. This is how we think of you.'”

I’m glad we live in a society in which people who do things like this can and will be called out for their actions. Our constant connectedness creates a sort of communal accountability; if you post something online that’s controversial, people will voice their opinions to you. The people donning these costumes probably had no inclination that the whole world would be talking about them. Well, they’re infamous now. Their photographs are being spread through almost any social networking site you can think of. Thanks to social media.