Of Duck Faces and Cat Beards: Why Do Selfies Need Genres?

  • Bernd Leiendecker


From duck face or mirror selfies to “belfies” or cat beard selfies—many selfies fall into categories that can be considered to function like genres. Bernd Leiendecker borrows this established term and concept, used in the analysis of film, television, and other media, to reflect on the construction, usefulness, and specifics of selfie genres. While film and television theory mostly postulate that genrefication is important for production, marketing, and reception purposes, most selfies are not made for financial profit and their production and reception typically is free. Thus, many of the usual reasons for genrefication do not seem to apply. Nevertheless, a process of genrefication does seem to be at work: Many websites collect selfies from one genre only, and users knowingly emulate other selfies and place their own selfies in certain categories via hashtags. By applying genre theory to selfies, one is therefore faced with challenges that may lead to a better understanding of what selfies are and why they are categorized at all. Although the problems of genre definition have already been exemplified by the selfie as a genre of photography, Leiendecker shifts the focus to the different genres that emerge as subcategories of the selfie and to their own logics of production, distribution, and reception.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd Leiendecker
    • 1
  1. 1.BochumGermany

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