In Defense of the Selfie Stick

A good time is always just within reach


My first one-on-one encounter with a selfie stick took place in October 2014. I was opening packages for my boss when I unwrapped the technological device from a pair of gifted jeans. When I realized what it was, my heart swelled. I had wanted to try one for months — a truth (and for a while, a secret of mine) completely devoid of irony.

The selfie stick’s origins are rooted in the technology first introduced via the GoPro. GoPro cameras are ideal for extreme action sports like motocross, surfing and skydiving. They’re able to capture mind-blowing videos from the participant’s point of view through the lens of a camera mounted to a hands-free headpiece or at the end of a durable, extendable pole.

The selfie stick, however, is GoPro for the average Joe. It’s perfect for tourism. Ideal for friendship. It’s wondrous at the beach and works just as well while hiking. If you’ve ever felt the need to photograph a stranger’s meal three tables away, the selfie stick is gold.

Imagine if Ellen Degeneres had a selfie stick at the 2014 Academy Awards. How many more of our favorite actors could’ve fit into the frame? Jared Leto’s immaculate face and perfectly tousled hair wouldn’t have been 79% cropped out! Maybe Leonardo DiCaprio would have made the cut.

In addition to celebrity group shots, selfie sticks are terrific for good old-fashioned fun. There’s no need to pause the moment and slow the momentum by arguing over who has the longest arm. Selfie sticks allow you to be utterly independent. Gone are the days of asking a stranger to take your picture, or worse: someone’s little brother.

Yes they’re embarrassing. Yes they’re widely considered “lame.” But so were Birkenstocks and mom jeans. It’s just a matter of time. Besides, use of a selfie stick not only ensures quality control, it frees up your other hand to high five your friend mid-snap of the brand new profile pic you both can finally agree on.

Every other week or so, I receive a text from a friend with selfie stick-validating content: Beyoncé in “7/11.” Diddy, his selfie stick and a yacht. Recently, five different friends sent me the same link: a Vogue interview featuring Derek Zoolander, Hansel McDonald, and Anna Wintour. It was filmed backstage at Valentino with — you guess it: ye old extendable, dependable stick.

I bask in the validation these industry luminaries provide to my beloved mechanism. More thrilling to me, however, is that my contemporaries seem to be either giving in or catching on, too. The other day, a recently engaged co-worker held back the usual sarcasm while informing me that she’s considering providing selfie sticks for each table at her wedding reception. Now that’s the spirit.

Selfie sticks teach us to let go and live a little. Scratch that — they extend so that we can live large. A good photograph is a good photograph, but a great photograph has a story — the  selfie stick helps capture that. Embrace the stick and repeat its mantra: always raise the bar.

Edited by Amelia Diamond

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  • Allie Fasanella
  • The first time I saw a selfie stick was back in 2012 at Ankor Wat, all the Chinese grannies, in their infinite wisdom, had them. We laughed at them at the time but now I wish I could travel SE Asia again with the assistance of said stick.

  • I don’t have one, but I want one FO SHO

  • I much rather tourists use selfie sticks than ask me to take pictures of them. One time some woman asked me and proceeded to conduct a photoshoot with different “romantic” poses on the very crowded Brooklyn Bridge

    • Oh no! I always like being asked to take a photo. Such an awkward little moment of vulnerability & trust.

      But for real, if a photoshoot is in order, folks gotta provide their own stick. And no line ups, omg, what! You should have started charging.

      • I don’t know what it was about that day on the bridge – I couldn’t walk five feet without somebody asking me until I put my dslr camera away. This was in 2010, before most people were photographing their daily lives and comfortable with cameras. So many people approached me in a short amount of time that I still cringe when someone asks four years later.

        Most recently a father asked me to take a picture of him and his daughter in Central Park, and that was a sweet moment that you’re referring to.

    • ThisPersonSleeps

      Yeah, I feel like the people that always ask me to take their picture taken 15 minutes getting ready and then want me to take several picture. Umm no.

  • parkzark

    Obama is on board, sooooo I guess I can get one.

  • Just be careful out there.

    “The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington prohibited the sticks this month, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston plans to impose a ban. In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been studying the matter for some time, has just decided that it, too, will forbid selfie sticks. (New signs will be posted soon.)”

  • haha I always want to photograph other people’s food! Need one of these in my life

  • HannahGS

    When I was having dinner in Hong Kong last summer there were two pre-teen girls that spent literally 20 minutes just taking pictures of themselves with a selfie stick. My family was taking bets on how long they’d keep going.

  • Zoe

    If they’re good enough for Obama and Grace Helbig, they’re good enough for me.

    From 1989

  • I visited Korea in November and when I went to touristy places, all the girls and couples were using them. You couldn’t even get a shot of the scenery because so many people were in the frame taking pictures of themselves with their selfie sticks. My Korean friend visited California in December and brought a selfie stick with her. We went to Glendale Americana and used it to get a picture of 4 of us. People stopped and stared at us. One man even asked where we bought it from.

  • laprairielily

    So does this mean big bags are in for both genders so we can all store our selfie sticks?

    • Grand Fashion Design

      We have solved that problem!
      The Selfie Stick Clutch – a fashionable small clutch that fits a selfie stick!

  • Did you guys hear that selfie sticks were banned at Coachella? Funny that they were considered offensive or dangerous enough to be forbidden at the festival, but wearing what is supposed to be a very sacred Native American headdress isn’t.