If you're making an hour long documentary on Billy the Kid, you can show this photo. Or you can show his Wanted posters that also use this photo. You can use the colorized version of this photo. But your viewers will have nothing to do but look at this photo. For two hours.
|Yeah, I'm bored already.|
Emily and Billy teenagers, or thereabouts, at the time these photos were taken. Every scholar, student, biographer, and documenter wishes they'd posed for more. But they couldn't, because photographs were time consuming, expensive endeavors. If only they'd had smartphones.
There you go. I don't know if I'll be Emily Dickinson of Billy the Kid, but there you go. You'll thank me in a hundred and fifty years.
History is only one reason selfies are important. The second is perception of beauty and body image.
|Taylor Swift on the cover of Glamour|
|Taylor Swift waking up in the morning.|
Keep in mind that celebrities aren't the only ones taking selfies. Normal teenage girls (and boys) proudly post pictures of themselves looking like normal humans on the internet for all to see. A 2013 Samsung pull found that selfies make up 30% of photos by people aged 18-24. Media critic Jennifer Pozner called selfies a toll for young people to break through "media gatekeepers" and say "I'm great the way I am."
And before you say selfies are a modern craze, here's thirteen year old Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov taking one in 1913.
Here she is decked out in pearls for a formal portrait a year later. Thousands of photographs were taken of Anastasia and her siblings during their short lifetimes. Online archives show her with everything from a cigar to a shaved hear. But this one is the most widely used. As royalty living a few decades later than Billy and Emily, Anastasia had more access to cameras. Romanov fans have all kinds of content that captures her true personality.
|As will the fans of another world leader's daughter.|
So next time you ridicule the young people around you for taking selifes, remember we're going to go down in history. And we don't care if we look fabulous while doing it.