Oh, those millennials and their darn selfies
Last week, an assembly of Alpha Chi Omega sorority girls attended an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game. Then, the broadcasters made a call for taking selfies in the stands. As the live camera lingered on the girls snapping selfies, the broadcasters began commenting on them.
“That’s the best one of the 300 pictures of myself I’ve taken today,” they said. “Every girl in the picture is locked into her phone.”
To be clear, there’s zero hate or malice in the commentators’ voices. It’s notable to point out that the girls have no ill feelings or offense at the comments. But that does not mean we shouldn’t evaluate a public situation and examine it through the lens of a larger social context.
The commentators’ intent was to make good-natured teasing. However, to many, it can come off as predominantly reductive rather than humorous. The teasing can be seen as an insinuation that the girls are partaking in stereotypical female vanity by taking selfies.
“It’s very typical for upper white men to take cheap shots at people who are not as privileged as them — especially at women,” post-graduate business management student Jean Cheramie said. “They took it in such a context where they were supposed to be taking the selfie at that time. It’s really telling that people are willing to ignore a situation to make fun of someone who is of lesser status than themselves.”
Some can interpret the event from the male gaze angle.
“Men don’t like it when young women look at themselves,” Amanda Hess of Slate said. “But they don’t dislike it enough to stop looking at them when they’re looking at themselves.”
When the Diamondbacks and Fox Sports offered free tickets to the girls, they requested that the tickets be donated to domestic abuse shelters.
“We are happy to have the opportunity to shed some positive light on such a sensitive subject (of domestic abuse),” the sorority said on their Facebook page.
Cheramie believes in the necessity of applying the larger social context, though adds that it can be too easy to forget the positive outcome of a particular instance.
“People are more interested in dismantling the patriarchal standards than the aftermath of an individual event,” Cheramie said. “If you’re focusing on the larger social problem, you might not notice the positive repercussions of a singular event.”
Opinion columnist Caroline Cao is a creative writing and media production senior and may be reached at [email protected]