Selfies, Cell Phones, and Self Expression
No doubt about, pop artist icon Andy Warhol’s words have turned prophetic. He was the one who first suggested that everyone on this planet would someday have their fifteen minutes of fame. He was right of course, or very close to it. The media had become the message of the sixties, but those were the quaint and innocent days of Polaroid and Kodak. Little did he know, of course, how right he was.
Little did he know about personal computers, laptops, and I Pads. There was no internet. Snail mail was still the only way to reach out and touch someone in a personal way. And now? An estimated 63 percent of the population worldwide already owns a mobile phone. That number is growing, exponentially too, forecast to reach 4.68 billion by the time of this writing. Six months out from now, it will exceed five billion.
This new Age of Electronics has changed our culture, of course. We don’t read newspapers anymore. We don’t write letters, at least not on paper. Many of us don’t even own a camera. The “media,” the newspapers and the TV, is no longer the message.
People are. They have stolen its power with personal Android devices. The new media mogul is not BBC, CBS, or NBC. It is the proverbial “Everyman.” Anyone and anything can go viral, become famous. and, because the internet never sleeps…at any time. If only Warhol had lived to see this day! He might have changed the meme. Today, we no longer need to wait for roving reporters. We are the roving reporters. The selfie is just that, a very personal way of living the dream. Only now, because everyone is doing it, fifteen minutes is way too long, one’s own personal fifteen seconds of fame.
The simple little cell phone camera has also changed the way we think. No one even uses email anymore. They text and tweet and post on social media sites of all kinds and persuasions. Need a job? Get one on Facebook. Angry? Fire someone on Twitter. Why not? Billionaire POTUS Trump did. And so it goes.
What is so special about that personal android device? Simply put, it IS personal…very, very personal. And that’s the fun! A picture may have once been worth a thousand words, but nowadays why talk? Why even text when you can sext? You may not literally be able to reach out and touch, but you can turn on your lover and even your friend and the whole world too. Sexual self-expression is all the new norm, the now-a-day rage, and a voyeur’s dream. And why not?
Highschoolers do it. Why not make our private parts, well, not so private? Why not let it all hang out in hangouts and chat spaces too? So, why not have an adults-only space set aside just for this purpose? And, if so, why not have one devoted to our dark sides, to all things kink? Why not show all things pink? And black and blue and everything else under the sun…or moon?
This was the driving concept behind FetLife, a kinky social network with some six million users. Chances are you know all about it already, but for the unwashed, it is a social networking website that serves people interested in BDSM, fetish. FetLife describes itself, "Like Facebook, but run by kinksters like you and me." FetLife distinguishes itself from competitors by emphasizing itself as a social network rather than a dating site. ‘Nuff said.
Founded by David Karp in 2007, Tumblr is another great site for microblogging and social networking. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs. Bloggers can also make their blogs private. Play it right and you can post and find still more kinky selfies. Here these sites, the selfie soars high above those ancient earthbound media milestones, reaching the stratosphere somewhere in that brave new great cloud called cyberspace.
“Like Facebook,” however, is something of an understatement. Few actually post faces. Most members, in fact, seldom do, and for obviously good reasons. They show their bodies instead. A few, however, show both.
Some FetLife selfies certainly seem innocent and random enough. Anyone can show anything and share it without fear or shame. Some are well composed. Some are perfectly artless, even naively primitive. Others are done so well they become something like a new high camp art form, maybe something like Warhol would have done were he still alive today.
More often than not, the selfie can convey real and genuine emotions in a way that words even via text cannot. They can be very suggestive, provocative, and private too. Why not?
Sometimes a friend snaps the shot. Sometimes a timer is used. But, sooner or later, just about everyone uses a mirror. Perhaps even, the bathroom is the most popular background. A few are even shot in very public places.
The selfie, and the sext, the occasional post in a kinky social media site: they all go well, hand-in-hand. One might say, but, what about kink? Fetish? Those things we hold near and dear on these electronic pages? Here, the humble little cell phone comes into its own right. What better device for vice!
Friends share pics of kinky apparel, toys, and even their most private parts for better or for worse. The cell phone is something of a fly on the wall, a true zeitgeist, catching and sharing the tenderly taboo in the most intimate of moments
The simple little slice-of-life selfie has changed the media and maybe the culture too; and maybe in a very big way. Gone are the days of the newsstand, the pinups, and the guilty pleasure men’s magazines which proudly spread them across their covers. Nudity in print just isn’t what it used to be.
Perhaps most telling is story of the once iconic Playboy centerfold. December 4, 2015 marks the day of its last nude issue featuring Pamela Anderson. And, perhaps you might ask, what about that accompanying myth that sold as fast as firecrackers on the Fourth of July? What about all those fresh wholesome girls who theoretically lived just next store, who posed so innocently wearing nothing but a smile? It turns out that myth is as dead as the dodo bird. Truth be known, they never lived next door, they were never so innocent after all. They had fantasies of their own. And they were kinky as all hell.