The Sunday Times: Screen deep


I watched two 13-year-olds at the bus stop posing in front of their iPhone, taking Snapchat pictures of themselves. They had long perfected their selfie technique: taken from above, at a 45-degree angle, pouting as if they had fillers, with sucked-in cheeks. After, as they checked out the results on screen, I heard one of these perfect-skinned, wrinkle-free teenyboppers, whine: “Oh my God, I look soooo rough.”

Millennials are living in a new age of beauty. Now the aesthetic is dictated not by what you look like IRL (in real life), but by how you’re seen through the lens of a smartphone. Is it any wonder, when social media has made images so dominant? Every day we share 1.8bn photos on platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. There are now 13-year-olds who cannot remember a time before the selfie, a term that was coined in 2002. Now, the beauty bible for this epoch has been written by its oracle, Kim Kardashian, who has produced an ode to the selfie featuring 445 pages of her face, called — triumphantly — Selfish.

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