The Vixen Thinks: The War On Selfie Sticks


The selfie stick. A device solely created to extend the user’s arm in order to take better self portraits. Naturally it has divided opinion: there are those who love it and there are those who view it as a narcissistic indicator that the end is nigh.

Personally, I’m in the camp of loving the selfie stick. I’ve got pretty damn short arms so taking selfies, particularly those that involve my boyfriend, friends and/or family in them, have always been quite the task for me. My sister got a lovely bright pink selfie stick for Christmas and after having ages of fun taking stupid photographs of ourselves, I decided it was something I needed myself. Not only does it create flattering angles, but when using it, I can even manage to get everyone in on the photo, whoa!

Yet, a war is being waged on the humble selfie stick. Museums, football grounds and public attractions all over the world are announcing a ban on the nifty little gadget. While many argue this is for health and safety, I’m starting to think there’s an undertone here that’s not so much in the public interest.

For a start, if selfie sticks are a genuine health hazard, so are other long, pointy devices that people like to wave in the air. Umbrellas for example. Why not ban those? Why not ban small children because when I’m out in public, I face more injury from those little buggers not watching where they’re going than I ever have done from someone taking a nice little picture of themselves.

Safety issues aside, I think “The War on Selfie Sticks” is more of a snipe at a generation of boys and girls who express themselves in a way that many view as narcissistic and inferior to the generations that went before.

I see a lot of people rolling their eyes at people who like to take selfies, I see words like vain and vapid being thrown around. There’s a lot of criticism surround the selfie - does it actually empower young girls or is it just reinforcing unrealistic beauty standards? You know the stuff I’m talking about.

There is, most definitely, a group of people that classify themselves as superior because they don’t take selfies, they don’t post pictures of themselves on the Internet and they certainly don’t need a selfie stick.

When I heard about certain very famous museums banning the device, my first thought wasn’t anything to do with what a great health and safety move, oh no, my first thought was that certain institutions are trying to disassociate themselves with a certain class of people and disregard those who enjoy the art of the selfie as somehow inferior.

The thing is, selfies are great - they’re not an indicator or your intelligence and they’re not oppressive or anti-feminist.

I love a good selfie. I’ve been taking them for years and years, since back when Myspace was in vogue and it wasn’t until I start operating the camera that I finally started feeling comfortable with having my photograph taken or sharing images of myself with my friends, family and beyond.

When I started taking selfies, I learnt that beauty is a subjective thing. From some angles I am one of the most stunning things I’ve ever laid eyes on (sorry, not sorry), from others, I resemble an ogre. Realising this made me realise that I’m never, ever going to look the same to everyone on every photo in every situation and just because I’m disgusting when posing with my face down, it doesn’t mean I’m inherently ugly. It was a serious confidence booster for me.

Selfies put the portrayed in the shoes of the photographer. It allows a certain amount of control that you do not get when someone else is photographing you. For me, there’s something empowering about being able to create the ideal image of yourself and share it with the world.

They’ve also become very, very important to my life. I couldn’t run this blog without taking selfies and because I’ve moved so far away from my family, if I didn’t take pictures of myself, there would be absolutely no record of what I look like for the past year or so. Surely everyone enjoys looking back and seeing how they’ve changed?

Selfies also form an important part of relationships for me. Who doesn’t love a good photo of themselves with their other half? There’s often just me and my boyfriend around at times, so a selfie becomes necessary if we want a nice soppy photo!

Selfie sticks enhance all the benefits of selfies I have outlined above, particularly when it comes to photographs that don’t feature just you.

I’m also planning on doing some solo travelling in the future and I know I will be taking a selfie stick because I want to remember myself in that experience and this way I don’t have to fear a stranger running off with my camera.

Personally, I think the ban on selfie sticks is an attempt to stifle a blossoming culture. People are capable of using them in a manner that doesn’t put people at risk and this should be respected. Those who look down at those of us who like to document our lives need to remove the stick from up their arse (no pun intended.)

What do you think? Is the selfie stick genuinely a health and safety concern or do you, like me, think it’s a superiority complex that is getting it banned?