We are not even done with 2013 yet and someone has gone and made a new horrible selfie trend that should probably be occupying a well-deserved space on our “8 Worst Selfie Trends Of 2013″ list. If that list has not annoyed you enough already, allow us to introduce you to the “selfless” selfie.
New York magazine found Poppy Delevingne, socialite/model and older sister of Cara Delevingne, posing for an Instagram picture while wearing a T-shirt that says, “This selfie is selfless.” We do not entirely believe the garment, as there’s definitely an element of self-promotion in Delevingne’s beatific smile.
The “selfless selfie” concept is actually a rather brilliant plan from Action Aid, which is selling the shirts for £20 apiece, with profits going towards the organization’s relief efforts in the Philippines. The “selfless selfie” is a convenient way to publicly record oneself giving to charity, preferably in a luxurious location with flattering light, which is important because if you don’t then no one will actually benefit from it.
I love selfies and think people should take as many of them as they want, but I am so conflicted about this “selfless selfie” thing. On the one hand, it seems pretty crass and the name is impossible. It is not in any way selfless to promote one’s selflessness via selfie, and I do not think I could deal if my Instagram feed were overrun with people making smug duckface and thinking they were saving the world.
But on the other hand, people really like taking selfies and getting in on trends. If everyone were to imitate Poppy Delevingne and jump on the “selfless selfie” bandwagon, that would probably account for a lot of shirts sold that would otherwise not be. And it does not seem likely that people are thinking, “I was going to donate $20 directly, but now I will donate $20 through this T-shirt so I can advertise my selflessness.” It seems much more likely that the campaign will get people onboard who would not otherwise have donated at all, and that is a good thing.
Taking a “selfless selfie” might be tacky and self-indulgent, but it’s still a good campaign and a brilliant idea on the part of ActionAid, which has figured out a way to make tacky self-indulgence work for charity.