“Why do we post selfies?” Vanity, Validation, and the Virtual Communication of Selfies on Instagram

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Alice Palfreyman


Over the last two decades, we have watched the selfie grow and establish itself in the virtual sphere, especially on the social media site Instagram. This article considers the role that selfies play in our communications and social relations in an online space through engaging with the experiences of young, Scottish women. It explores their thoughts on taking, posting, and interacting selfies in order to understand the meanings and motivations behind selfies on Instagram. It will find that regardless of how “vain” taking selfies may be, posting them is a method of virtual communication that cannot be ignored. This article also breaks down the association between women, selfies, and vanity through analysing the phenomenon of moral panics, and how this impacts the interlocutors in their selfie taking habits.

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