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It’s time to end this selfie addiction

PUBLISHED: 08:32 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:32 09 May 2018

A guest takes a selfie photograph upon arrival at the opening ceremony of the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

A guest takes a selfie photograph upon arrival at the opening ceremony of the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Invision

Well done Cannes Film Festival for striking a blow against the selfish selfie addiction, says Rachel Moore.

Cannes Film Festival might be as irrelevant to most of our humdrum lives as next week’s royal wedding (600 guests at the ceremony with 250 of their closest pals to the evening ‘do,’ if you didn’t know)

But when Cannes director Thierry Fremaux condemned the act of taking selfies on his red carpet as “grotesque” and dictated a total ban, applause would have crescendoed at family dinner tables worldwide.

He dared to ban the selfie! It might have been cutting off the lifeblood to the stars that feed his festival, depriving them of the essentials to nurture their egos, but he did it.

If Fremaux’s admirable stand was the start of the tide turning on the crass epidemic that at best irritates and, at worst, obsesses, sometimes with devastating effects, remains to be seen.

But it was a start, making the beautiful, appearance-is-all La-La land lovelies go selfie cold turkey.

Anyone who attempted a selfie on his red carpet would be turned away from the door. A big statement. Security guards policed tightly, insisting visible phones were put away.

His diktat was a long-overdue call of time on a plague that has brings daily misery to young people, inflicting unprecedented harm to their self-esteem.

The selfie is done, he was saying. Naff and for the self-absorbed, to portray an artificial-distorted image of individuals that inevitably invokes feelings of inadequacy and failure in others.

The selfie addiction has taken narcissism to a whole new level.

What would have once been vain and self-obsessed is now about being proud of who you are. Fine, if only that were true.

In truth, it’s about making others see what you want them to see, a gauze over the reality. Vacuous image is all and gullibility, believing what we see, however much we try to believe it’s not a true depiction, takes over.

It’s become a disease. Selfitis – the obsessive taking of selfies - is a serious psychological complex, according to Nottingham Trent University psychology department, that has developed the world’s first Selfitis Behaviour Scale to assess the condition.

Those with selfitis show a disregard for others and their environment. They are at the centre of everything. Remember the selfie addicts invading Norfolk seals’ space to snap their faces, and those of the dead whales washed up on our beaches?

Holiday selfitis is tiresome – Rome’s Colosseum obscured by a gurning sun-scorched face, the Eiffel Tower growing out of a gelled quiff, the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop to the face they see in the mirror every day.

Let’s not forget the $200,000 damage in a Los Angeles art gallery when a woman knocked over a row of pedestals holding exhibits domino-style as she leaned over and lost her balance trying to get the perfect selfie.

Without social media, there would be no selfie.

And it’s not just the young. Instagram is full of the smug self-styled fashion stylist posing in their ‘ootd’ – outfit of the day.

For frazzled parents wrestling Weetabix down the children, doing the school run and dashing to work, the last thing they need in a lunchtime scroll through Instagram is the SAHMs (stay at home mums), wives of rich London bankers, showing off their day’s outfit before “brunch and shopping with the girls” on a Tuesday morning, followed by 64 comments – “you look amazing, lovely. “Gorgeous.” “Stunning, babe.”

It’s time to take stock, and stop.

Elizabeth Olsen, who’s walked the Cannes carpet multiple times, said the Cannes selfie ban was “cool”. “People should put their phones down.”

It’s therapy. I left my phone behind on Sunday and Monday sailing on the Broads and felt liberated. I drank in the views to remember, without the panic to get the best shot.

And if something is urgent enough, you’ll be tracked down.

What the stars start, others will follow. Perhaps Cannes, the heart of the image culture, will start the decline of the selfie and we can stop seeing ourselves at the centre of everything.


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