News: Forget Paris Hilton, All Hail Ducreux the OG King of the Selfie

Forget Paris Hilton, All Hail Ducreux the OG King of the Selfie

Paris, girl, you are awesome, but you did not invent the selfie. If you want to spread this #newmarketingterm to the media masses, then go right ahead. It's your brand, your career, and you got the opportunity. People will listen. No one really cares about who invented the silly thing anyway. Though I got to say, the original king of the selfie did seem like one pretty chill dude ...

The first selfie was actually invented in 1793 by eighteenth-century French painter Joseph Ducreux. Ducreux didn't just give us some elitist Enlightenment-like portrait of himself holding up a book by Voltaire, either. Nope. The man, the meme, the legend, gave us a pompous grin and the great American "I want you" finger, instead. Because like, if you're a baller now, how else would you pose?

Images via Quick Meme

Sure, the modern day word "selfie" wasn't coined till around 2002. Earlier, people would've called the selfie a "self-portrait." Though, it's easy to see how the media world would want to repackage that term to make it more of a social media buzzword rather than just a regular old phrase.

Oxford Dictionaries made "selfie" the word of the year back in 2013, cementing the expression right into the English language. According to the Oxford blog:

Self-portraits are nothing new — people have been producing them for centuries, with the medium and publication format changing. Oil on canvas gave way to celluloid, which in turn gave way to photographic film and digital media. As the process became snappier (pun intended) so has the name. And now as smartphones have become de rigueur for most, rather than just for techies, the technology has ensured that selfies are both easier to produce and to share, not least by the inclusion of a button which means you don't need a nearby mirror. It seems likely that this will have contributed at least in part to its increased usage. By 2012, selfie was commonly being used in mainstream media sources and this has been rising ever since.

(1) My personal favorite: the Steve Buscemi Ducreux, (2) OG Ducreux yawning. Images via Know Your Meme (1, 2)

Thus, Paris Hilton was not the first one to invent the selfie, neither was she the first one to invent the word "selfie." What she is though, is someone who sees an opportunity to stake a claim in the selfie's history, before another celebrity beats her to it.

Think you know of someone who invented the selfie before Ducreux? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover image via Philip Nelson/Wikimedia Commons/Quick Meme/ Gadget Hacks

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