A Selfie can land you in trouble in Saudi Arabia

What is a Selfie? A photograph that one takes of oneself particularly from a Smartphone or a webcam. Selfies are acceptable, but occasionally. Posing every day for a new selfie is not encouraged. Some Psychologist believes people who are obsessed with selfies lack confidence and some believe that taking lots of selfies is not an addiction but instead a symptom of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD is preoccupation to one's flaws in appearance which are not noticed by other people. As Social Media, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. gained popularity, the word selfie became popular as well. According to experts, Saudis are top users of such networking sites.[irp]

This trend of selfies has gained popularity in Saudi Arabia as well. At first young Saudis were conscious of posting pictures online but as the trend of selfie grows more and more Saudis are becoming comfortable with posting pictures online as well as being prepared for a selfie opportunity.  This trend of selfie in Saudi Arabia has benefitted barber’s salons and cosmetic surgeons the most. Many women have turned to cosmetic surgeons for Botox, skin peeling, and laser treatments. Being ready for a selfie requires great preparations. The City Literature College in London even offers a special course called The Art of Portraiture, which teaches how to take the perfect selfie. In Saudi Arabia, when visiting a mall, you can see lots of females, kids, and male of every age group almost taking selfies making their moments memorable.

It does not matter anymore whether it’s a wedding or a funeral, a happy moment or person in pain, selfies are found everywhere. In 2013, selfies made its way to the dictionary. It was accepted as a word by Online Oxford dictionary. Selfies have also landed people in trouble. Like the US president, Barack Obama, case. He was seen taking a selfie with the Denmark Prime Minister (Helle Thorning-Schmidt) along with British Prime Minister (David Cameron) at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, while his wife Michelle Obama wasn’t a part of this.

The selfie fever was taken, by a Sri Lankan man, to a whole new level when he took a selfie with a dead uncle and posted it on his networking site. This controversial selfie went viral soon after it made its way to Reddit. Some commented this as disrespectful while others found such a selfie even creepy. Last year in Saudi Arabia heavy fine of SR150 to SR300 was charged to the motorist if caught photographing themselves while driving. Hajj selfie was a growing trend seen last year during Hajj, as pilgrims take selfies while performing the rites of Hajj.[irp]

Hajj is a religious gathering of Muslims and last year over two million believers performed it. Many believe selfie during Hajj is not modest, while others think selfie as saving the memorable moments. Selfies are just another self-portrait trend to be accepted in society. Selfies are simply another part of this age of technology we are living in, they are here to stay. The whole world is watching so beware next time you pull out your camera for a selfie.