It’s the latest craze: a selfie taken while pulling a goofy, often hideous face.
The seven chin snap, the cross-eyed pig nose, the puffed cheeks with bulging eyes. Even if you don’t know these names, you’ll recognise the photos they describe: uglies.Uglies are selfies where the person in the photo makes a face – the more hiedous the better. Most of us now share these kinds of photos with friends on a regular basis via Snapchat, WhatsApp and even Facebook if we’re feeling brave. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can expect to see half a dozen gurning faces every day.
The craze has trickled down from celebs. Although the majority of them do make sure their hair and make up is flawless before taking a snap, it’s still nice to see A (though most often B or J or Z) listers not taking themselves so seriously. Here’s Ricky Gervais:
But just why do we feel the need to share these ugly photos of ourselves? Well, we’re bored of seeing girls pouting and guys flexing. It’s no longer as acceptable to share ridiculously flattering selfies of yourself on Facebook and Twitter unless you’re under the age of fourteen. It comes across as vain and more than a little self-obsessed.
We know exactly what our friends and acquaintances look like and sadly it’s not quite what their selfies would suggest. Camera angles can make the most unfortunate looking person appear vaguely attractive.
The uglie is the new selfie. It allows us to maintain the addictive relationship with our front facing camera without appearing horribly vain. In fact, they allow us to relax and have fun. You don’t have to pull one of those self-concious fake smiles. Stick your tongue out, stick it up your nose, whatever. Anything goes with uglies.
It’s a virtual statement: ‘Hey, look at me. I look like shit and I really don’t care’. It signals that we do not need likes and compliments on unrealistically attractive images of ourselves to feel secure.
Uglies are also a backlash against the pretentious, perfect images taken with Instagram. Whilst Instagram is all about pretending to have a perfect little life prancing around a pool and making cupcakes, an ugly face sent via Snapchat shows us as real, down-to-earth people, who don’t mind pulling a face in a manky dressing gown.
A study by Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s social-media scientist, showed that tweets containing Instragram links are 42% less likely to be retweeted than tweets without photos. Instagram photos of you half naked with your cat/dog/kitten/any inanimate object aren’t fashionable or arty, they’re just plain annoying.