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The Female Perspective: Selfies, The Silent Killer

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I read an interesting article today about how Selfies have killed people more than shark attacks in 2015. At first I laughed thinking, well, there you go. Then my laughter took on a different tone, of sadness. Because yes, this is the world in which we live. Where in one year at least 12 people have died while taking selfies (compare that to the 8 that died via shark attack).

FYI, you're still awesome and a part of this world even if we don't see your selfie's every day.
FYI, you’re still awesome and a part of this world even if we don’t see your selfie’s every day.

The fact is, we live in a world now where everyone with a smartphone has a camera and camcorder. Where you can photograph every special moment of your life with ease and then download it onto your social media of choice. Or you can take a myriad of selfie’s to show everyone how hot you are. I’ve taken plenty of selfie’s but not once have I done so while in a dangerous spot.  Others, have not been so luck.

Deaths have been caused by distracted photo-takers falling off cliffs, crashing their cars, being hit by trains, and even shooting themselves while posing with guns. ~ScienceAlert.com

So what’s up with people thinking that even today it’s okay to take a photo of yourself while driving a car? Why is it we forget to “mind our surroundings” when taking a selfie in a potentially dangerous locale? What is it that makes us feel the need to take that selfie at any cost?

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The article from Science Alert goes on to quote from some of the researchers in a study done on the reasons why selfie’s are so vital for some people.

“It’s all about me. It’s putting me in the frame. I’m getting attention and when I post that to social media, I’m getting the confirmation that I need from other people that I’m awesome,” lead researcher Jesse Fox told Reuters. “You don’t care about the tourist attraction you’re destroying; you don’t care about annoying people in your social media feed … you’re not even thinking about the consequences of your actions, so who cares if you’re dangling off the side of the Eiffel Tower?” ~Reuters

The selfie trend is so prevalent that officials in Russia (not a great example) have implemented laws to try and stop people from putting their lives in danger just to get that “awesome shot.”

In June, two men in the Ural Mountains died after posing pulling the pin from a hand grenade; in May a woman survived shooting herself in the head in her Moscow office; a month later a 21-year-old university graduate plunged 40 feet (12 meters) to her death while posing hanging from a Moscow bridge. ~Reuters

It’s fascinating to think about what goes into the mind of someone who takes  selfie in a place that could potentially kill them, or do something that could cause their demise. It’s horrible, sure, but at the same time what goes through someone’s mind when they decide to dangle off of a bridge to get a picture?

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Honestly it all seems to be about narcissism and of loneliness.  It’s what makes us want to connect with our fellow humans via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram anyway we can. We are hoping that by putting up such a crazy photo, that we’ll get people “Liking” it and posting comments about how amazing the shot is and how crazy, carefree, awesome, etc the photographer is (*please note, this is only for extreme selfie photographers not for the occasional selfie). It’s a way to get attention because you feel as though you aren’t getting enough in some other aspect of your life. In the end, it’s one of the reasons why our social media obsessed world is flawed and dangerous.

In Yellowstone National Park exasperated officials issued warnings after five separate selfie takers were gored this summer while standing too near bison. ~Reuters

So maybe, before you take that selfie of yourself hanging off your roof with a live grenade and a posse of tigers below you, take a few minutes to think about how this might end. You aren’t invincible, and dying while taking a selfie is both ridiculous and horrific for those you leave behind.

Also, I promise you that you still exist even if we don’t see your face every single hour of every single day. Stop taking so many pictures and live the life you’re having. Connect with your fellow social media peeps in another way. Even better, get out into the world and actually experience it. It’s a pretty awesome place, I promise.

What is the weirdest place you took a selfie? Have you ever put yourself in danger for a good photo? Why or why not? What is your opinion on selfies? Good, bad, ugly? Sound off in the comments.

2 thoughts on “The Female Perspective: Selfies, The Silent Killer

  1. A very relevant topic. Selfies can be narcissistic, but I also feel that selfies are posted to include the audience of the one taking the selfie in that particular, exciting moment. It can also be inclusive. That said, a line has to be drawn for when your safety is risked in favor of an awesome shot. It’s sad that selfies have killed people more than shark attacks this year.

  2. I totally agree with you Patricia. Selfie’s are fine (I took one of myself this weekend at a 5k event) but as you said, there has to be a line where safety HAS to be more important than getting the shot.

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