It's been about eight months since selfie officially gained status as the 2013 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year, and the selfie game is stronger than ever. I suppose we will never lose interest in gazing into ourselves at arm's length and then submitting that image to friends and strangers on the internet. But now that the selfie has secured a truly unshakable role in our digitally #blessed culture, other inane takes on the self-portrait are attempting to ride on the selfie's coattails—the "pelfie" (pet selfie) and the belfie (butt selfie) among others. But damn people, tacking an "ie" at the end of a word doesn't make it a thing. Nope, they're just selfie spinoffs, they're not particularly groundbreaking, and they're getting out of goddamn control.
Today's AP Big Story featured a write-up about the "Usie" (or Ussie)—that is, a group selfie, for us. As Beth J. Harpaz reports:
"Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies," said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco who studies consumer behavior. "It's magical capturing moments we share with other people."
In contrast to one-person selfies, usies are "more about the relationship, and less about you and your hair," she said.
I understand that Ellen DeGeneres's Oscar selfie (presented by Samsung) melted everyone's face and Twitter feed, but an usie? Really? That is the most redundant statement regarding a photograph of multiple people I may have ever read. It's straight up farcical that we are not allowed to take a damn picture of ourselves without it being some kind of medication commercial-style outburst of *magical share-worthy togetherness.* That's sort of what the concept of a photograph of people is AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN SINCE THE DAWN OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
But who knows? Maybe specifying sub-selfies is more about easily identifying and categorizing pictures on Instagram and on Twitter, rather than merely finding an excuse to attach a twee suffix to random words. And it's not like group selfies can't be empowering. I'm not really one for selfies myself (though I took a really important one last night), so I really can't imagine myself in a situation that requires me to denote which selfies were taken with friends, pets, and/or my ass.