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The Selfie Craze: Are We Becoming a Narcissistic Nation?

As a female journalist, I find the selfie trend troubling for personal reasons. Women had to fight very hard to break down barriers to enter the all-male newsroom and boardroom not so long ago. It was a tough struggle to not dismissed for our looks.
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It didn't take long for the imitations to start rushing in after Ellen posted her record-shattering Oscar selfie. By the next day, everyone was doing it. The firefighter group selfie. The military selfie. The group co-worker pic.

Yes, selfies are fun. We enjoy looking at them. We just got treated to a lot of great ones from the Olympics. They can capture memorable moments or unique events. But have selfies turned into an obsession? More and more people are endlessly taking pics of themselves and posting them. Every day. I know a woman who post pics of herself three to six times a day. Look my outfit. Here's me at the gym. Now I'm at the game. Eating out. A cocktail at the club. Don't I look great? Look at me!!

Are selfies making us narcissistic? Are we becoming a vain nation?

Some pop culture experts think so.

"We are living in a culture of people who are very much involved in themselves and becoming a culture of self indulgence," says New York public relations and pop culture writer Mario Almonte. "When they turn that camera on themselves they believe they are so important and so interesting..."

From the White House to the sporting event to the streets, people are obsessed with taking pictures of themselves. A friend told me he stopped seeing a girl because all she did was take selfies. Just check out a random Instagram account. Is it filled more with pictures of other people or of themselves?

Nancy Yuen, Biola University professor of sociology, doesn't think there's anything wrong with selfies. She says self portraits have been around since Vincent Van Gogh and allow a form of self-expression.

"The ease of access allows equal participation across diverse racial, gender, age and class groups," Yuen said. "Selfies become... an accessible outlet for creativity."

As a female journalist, I find the trend troubling for personal reasons. Women had to fight very hard to break down barriers to enter the all-male newsroom and boardroom not so long ago. It was a tough struggle to be taken seriously for our abilities and not dismissed for our looks. I was rejected from several news jobs early in my career because I was told I was "too pretty" to be taken seriously. Male bosses said they wanted to take me to lunch, but not hire me.

We had to prove we had brains behind the face. After many sexual harassments, hard work and determination, I broke through and went on to cover presidents, 9/11 terrorist attack, serial killers, the Olympics, Oscars and other major stories; I never took one picture of myself doing so.

It saddens me that too many female broadcasters are now posting pictures of themselves rather than the stories they cover. In fact, I don't even know the news or stories they cover because they're too busy posting pics of their new dress or hairstyle instead.

One of my former reporters is now an accomplished photographer. Erin Covey started an ambitious project for 2014: 365 Days of Portraits. Every day, Erin shoots a black and white portrait of an interesting, random person she encounters. She inspired me to take portraits of interesting guests who come into my radio station KFBK Sacramento, CA and post them on my Instagram account (Judy Farah).

We're not taking pictures of ourselves. If you point the camera away from yourself for once, you just might find someone interesting on the other side.

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