If an alien landed on Earth in the year 2016, it would be fairly difficult to explain to it that one of our major leisure and holiday activities was creating images that contain both a) us and b) a large building or natural attraction of some kind, and that people actually purchased specialised pieces of equipment to do so.
They’d be even more shocked to hear that people – quite a few people, in fact – have actually died in the attempt. “Is this some kind of religious activity?” the alien might ask.
“No,” we’d reply. “It’s so we can upload them onto a site called Facebook, and make people wish that they, too, had stood within 400m of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair.”
Selfies at certain landmarks have become something of an extreme sport, which is why Mashable was able to run its scaremongering “More people have died from selfies than shark attacks this year” article back in 2015. (FYI, this isn’t really true – selfie sticks, unlike sharks, aren’t a cause of death, but one of the circumstances surrounding death. The two things aren’t really comparable.)
In response to this moral panic, more and more places are banning selfies, or, more specifically, the selfie sticks that take them to the next – and potentially lethal – level.
No sticks allowed in Disneyland
Hands only. Image: Getty.
The most attraction-y of all attractions is a surprise entrant on this list: you’d think Disney’s array of theme parks would be the natural home of the selfie stick. But from last summer, the sticks were banned in all Disney parks.
According to this reddit post, allegedly from a Disneyland employee, the park started off by banning the sticks on the rides, as they could be dangerous if they stuck out into the machinery. Sadly, visitors ignored this rule, which led to the park-wide ban. You ruined it for everyone, guys.
Careful where you selfie in Mumbai
A risky selfie on the Marine Drive promenade, one of the sites where selfies will soon be banned. Image: Getty.
Following a horrible incident last year in which three teenage girls fell into the sea whilst selfie-ing on some nearby rocks, the city has decided to introduce “no selfie zones” at 16 of the city’s major attractions. These will be marked by signs, and, according to this Telegraph article, attended by “lifeguards”.
No bear selfies at Lake Tahoe
Not your friend. Do not selfie. Image: Getty.
The reasonable folks in charge of managing Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada have asked that visitors to the surrounding wilderness not take pictures of the local bears – especially selfies, which involves turning your back on said bears. Apparently people (in their droves) are stupid enough to do this.
France’s no-brag beaches
OK, so this is less of a life-and-death ban than a classy-or-tacky one: staff at Southern France’s Garoupe beaches have designated “no brag” or “no holiday spam” zones, where holidaymakers are banned from taking pictures of sunsets, cocktails, or themselves. The ban, and its accompanying signs, are sponsored, weirdly, by mobile network 3.
No selfies on Hajj
The Grand Mosque in Mecca: don’t even think about it. Image: Getty.
In 2014, according to CNN, a fatwa was issued against selfies ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, declaring them a “form of unacceptable irreligious self worship”. The move was apparently a response to a rise in young Muslims taking selfies during the gathering.
No selfies during bull-running
We couldn’t find any close-up pictures of this event to use. This is a good thing.
The Spanish region of Pamploma has banned observers from taking selfies during bull-running, a local tradition which involves chasing a load of bulls through the centre of town. Since 1924, 15 people have died during the running of the bulls.
Thanks to the new rule, filming or taking photos during the event could cost you a 3000 Euro fine. Or, you know, your life.
Iranian footballers can’t take selfies with female fans
Ashkan Dejaga, an Iranian football player. Let’s hope those conniving blurry women in the background don’t use this photo against him. Image: Getty.
The head of the Iranian Football Association’s “moral committee” (yes, this is a thing) has banned all players from taking selfies with female fans. The ban actually seems a little extraneous at home, since women in Iran are banned from attending sporting events altogether, but it also applies when players travel abroad.
Apparently, the ban was introduced so that women can’t then use the photos against the players and accuse them of harassment. Hmm. Feling a lot kinder towards selfies now, actually.
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