Jackie Kennedy Takes a Selfie (some more American History)


Continuing to draw on my post from earlier today, history is nothing more than the key to the present. The world believes our generation has redefined societal norms, and they are not okay with it. We’ve ridiculed Obama for taking a selfie in a formal setting, we’ve scoffed at the younger generation for taking selfies everywhere else. Selfies are condemned this new, somewhat inappropriate habit that doesn’t seem like it will go away anytime soon.

Enter Jackie Kennedy and JFK, 60 years ago. Two of our nation’s most revered leaders, people that few would ever ridicule or scoff at. They took a selfie. Cue your shock and appall. The camera wasn’t even developed enough that selfies were as easy as they are now, but the Kennedys figured it out just fine.

I, like many others, counter Turkle’s arguments in the NY Times. Selfies do not interrupt our experiences, they are simply a newer norm for documenting our lives. Personally, selfies are not my means of documentation. I prefer that my photos display the world through my eyes. This serves for me a better memory. However, I understand completely how some may feel the opposite, preferring to remember their lives by looking back on themselves, remembering their emotions by looking into their own eyes.

Jackie Kennedy once said, “I want to live my life, not record it.” This seems beyond disconnected, after all what does a camera do if not record? I think there’s more to the selfie, or the use of a camera in general than just recording. Taking a photo, selfie or not, is a story, a documentation, and most importantly – just a fun, silly thing to do. The selfie is an experience in itself, making funny faces with friends or posing how you please. After all, do we every really get over the fun and amazement of freezing a moment in time?


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