The sci­ence of self­ies

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BULLETIN -

coined in 2002, and al­ready The Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary ’s ‘In­ter­na­tional Word of The Year’ by 2013, the term ‘selfie’ refers to an ex­plo­sive mo­ment in mod­ern cul­ture. In our hy­per-self-con­scious era, many a think piece has been writ­ten on the sub­ject. Is it sim­ply the mod­ern por­trait? Or a snapshot of our slide into un­re­lieved nar­cis­sism? But in all the anal­y­sis, one as­pect has been ne­glected: who, pre­cisely, are these selfie-tak­ers and how, pre­cisely, are they tak­ing them? At the end of last year, the re­search col­lec­tive SelfieCity un­der­took a rig­or­ous data anal­y­sis of the com­po­si­tion of self­ies from five ma­jor global cities – Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow, New York and São Paulo – analysing head an­gle, glasses, ex­pres­sion, as well as the age and gen­der of the tak­ers. Their find­ings, in part, seem to con­firm our acu­men as folk an­thro­pol­o­gists or specialist stereo­typers. Pro­vided we would’ve guessed that the selfie-snap­pers of Moscow are li­able to scowl, while those of Bangkok and São Paulo take most to smil­ing.The gen­der anal­y­sis is also in­ter­est­ing: women dom­i­nate the selfie ranks un­til af­ter mid­dle age, when men start be­ing the pri­mary pouters.As for head tilt: women throw it back a full 50 per cent more than men, and Brazil­ian women are the tilti­est of all. Reporting on the anal­y­sis in Slate, Ariel Bogle noted, ‘The study only lacks a data sub­set of duck face and spar­row face to be truly com­plete.’

Tay­lor Swift.

Hi­lary Duff.

Mi­ley Cyrus.

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