Open Access

“First Ever Selfie Cover!”: Cosmopolitan Magazine, Influencers, and the Mainstreaming of Selfie Style

In Self-Representation in an Expanded Field, , Ed.


This paper o ers a critical analysis of a single image: the recently published “first ever selfie cover” of Cosmopolitan magazine (the South African edition) published in March 2019. The image features three South African “influencers”, and was purportedly taken by the women themselves, using a remote shutter release attached to a cable. In examining the image that was included on the cover, I make an argument about both its aesthetics and politics. In terms of the former, I examine the production values and composition of the image and consider how it relates to selfie style as understood in scholarship so far. In terms of the latter, I consider the extent to which the naming of the image as a selfie intersects with claims made about the genre’s capacity to empower and reshape oppressive visual culture. I argue that this case study shows how the selfie has been appropriated into mainstream commercial visual culture. This case study is situated within relevant scholarship to do with the consumer magazine and selfies, before the image in question was introduced and contextualised. Finally, the chapter develops an analytical argument about the aesthetics and politics of the commercial appropriation of selfie imagery.
Self-Representation in an Expanded Field
Published in:

Self-Representation in an Expanded Field

Ace Lehner
, Ed.
Published: May 2021
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