One day, when the history of the pandemic is written, it may be a partly visual story: the despair of crowded hospitals and body bags, fear and loneliness. up of masks. And then there was the skeleton of a smiling person, a sleeve curled up almost to a blue collarbone, with a paramedic willing to stab a needle into their biceps. Log into any social platform, and images – not to mention The Pose – are nearly impossible to miss.
Selfies of vaccines have become commonplace.
“I started seeing selfies of vaccines as soon as they became available,” said David Broniatowski, associate professor of engineering and applied sciences at George Washington University. “It’s an almost instant meme.” And instead of getting smaller, it just seemed to evaporate.
Indeed, Jeanine D. Guidry, an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, focusing on public health and health communication, said: “It could be one of those iconic images. of this moment. “
Perhaps unsurprisingly it has sparked a bizarre sub-trend of its own: topless (or partially topless) vaccine selfies, as is often the case with European politicians. Au is a model, but sometimes she’s a celebrity.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran shared partially stripped selfies (white shirt unbuttoned and revealed to the left) and Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (a long blue button) to an elbow, hairy chest is displayed). See partially stripped selfies of many members of British Parliament, including Brendan Clarke-Smith (shirt under test skewed towards the navel, with a button above the waist taken for modesty) and Johnny Mercer (completely shirtless).
Additionally, designer Marc Jacobs, who wore pink sparkling shorts with his pink shirt completely devoid of half a torso, leopard jacket and some pearls.
“It’s a look and a moment, worth the moment,” Vogue emphasized.
Perhaps that explains the choice of dressing: Many of us have been hiding inside for so long, feeling scared and powerless, that there is something free of undressing. Though the answer may well be simply that we’ve forgotten how to vaccinate. Or need to do something to get noticed in this chaotic era of social networking. If everyone is taking a selfie, how do you signal that your selfie is an important selfie?
After all, as Mrs. Guidry pointed out, it was both a new phenomenon – a very, very old one.
Before the vaccine selfie or the vaccine selfie topless, there was a shot of the vaccine. And before that, the engraving of the vaccine.
Yes, it goes back too far, partly because, as long as there was vaccination, the whole idea was insecure. (Taking a healthy person and injecting them a little sickness to make them better is hard to sell.) And that means public health agencies have made conscious efforts to push them forward. surname. Which, most often, is related to The Pose.
“The image is really, really powerful,” said Mark Dredze, associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University who has studied how to share pictures of vaccines on Twitter. “People relate to them more than text.”
For example, there are many late 18th century inscriptions by Edward Jenner, a vaccine pioneer and creator of the smallpox vaccine, which injected his own children and patients. One of the most famous shots of the vaccine series is a 1956 photo by Elvis Presley, then 21 years old and a dreamy-looking full-fledged teen idol with a sweater pulled up to get polio vaccination shot. A year earlier, a group of French models had been caught preparing to get a smallpox vaccine, grinning and flashing a little in the shoulder.
By 1976, President Gerald Ford, frightened by warnings of a huge swine flu outbreak, happily wore a suit and tie with his shirt sleeve rolled up during his flu shot. And, in 2009, President Barack Obama was caught at the White House with a nurse preparing to get the H1N1 vaccine. In all cases, the theory behind the photographs is the same.
“In public health communication, it is generally seen as good practice to take pictures of trusted leaders,” said Broniatowski. Thought unfold: You see an elected official as a guinea pig grimacing, the picture enters your subconscious, and suddenly you start thinking, “Oh, I should do the same.” Follow the leader in visual code.
And so it goes on – until the current pandemic.
That’s because between President Obama and today, two things happened. First, social media really took off. (It’s hard to remember, but the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the same year Facebook and Twitter went global. Instagram didn’t show up until 2010.) Second, as Ms. Guidry said, in a short statement neatly, “We ‘have seen a decline in trust in some areas of science and a decline in trust in our political leaders. “
That means while it is important to see the photos of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris taking their Covid photo on camera, not to mention Dr. Fauci and Vice President Pence ( and it is important that President Trump is not photographed for posterity after receiving his shots), “it is more important to see friends and family vaccinated,” Ms. Guidry said.
It’s ad 101, Mr. Dredze said, to make sure “people viewing an ad can be relevant to what they see in it.” In public health terms, that means people like us – people of all ages, skin colors and genders – get vaccinated. And because we are all media producers as well as media consumers now, it is possible.
At a time when social media has become one of our primary means of communication, visuals are important, not only for getting news out, but also for normalizing the experience and extending the experience. – to bring forward efficiency.
In the process towards herd immunity, the selfie vaccine plays an important role. No longer simply an expression of frivolity or boasting of a humble lifestyle, it has turned crowds, whether old or not, into effective wellness advocates.
While it’s possible all of these photos of The Pose might cause some outrage (not everyone who wants to be vaccinated can still get a shot), and topless politicians may have drawn a lot of attention. for their photographs (in both senses of the word), the selfie stream itself represents a tipping point. One that everyone can see.