If you actually needed proof that we live in the most individualistic society in history, look no further than the Oxford English Dictionary: the venerable tome named “selfie” its Word of the Year (having edged out “twerk,” doubtlessly to the relief English speakers everywhere).
Ever since “You” became Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006, the natural consequence of our narcissism is selfies—reflexive cell phone pictures taken of oneself often with an outstretched arm, or in the bathroom mirror. Now, Virgin Mobile Canada has released the results of a nationwide study on selfies, and they’ve turned up some surprising data about who’s taking them, and where the pics are ending up.
The first eyebrow-raising point that the Virgin study turned up: BC residents are the most likely Canucks to take selfies. This salient fact flies in the face of the firmly-held belief that Toronto (according to the people who live there) is the centre of Canada. If Ontarians aren’t as prone to snapping selfies as their west coast kin, could it be that a swell of self-importance is surging Vancouverward.
Perhaps the most interesting angle to the study is that men were found to be equally as likely to take selfies (at 78%) as women (at 79%). If that’s the case, then why does it seem as though selfies are the exclusive domain of teen-aged girls arching their backs in rolled-down jogging pants with some overt word bedazzling their bottoms? It turns out that while men are taking their fair share of selfies, they’re sharing them less often than women. 75% of men keep their selfies to themselfies.
While certainly novel, the study isn’t exhaustive. One angle researchers should have considered is which specific area of the body is the focus of the selfie. If nightmarish abuses of technology like Chat Roulette have taught us anything, it’s that men seem more likely than women to—ahem—aim the camera low when taking a selfie. It would be interesting to read stats on how many unfortunate people unwillyingly receive said shots from proud photographers.
Word on the street, and in US congress, is that unsolicited shots of man tackle are more common than many of us would like to think. Naturally, Virgin strayed away from asking these more lascivious questions to avoid their corporate brand being tainted by, well, taint. After all, the last thing a company called “Virgin” needs is to be associated with sex.