Why the hell does the Met Gala have a ‘no selfie’ policy?

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Have you read the news this morning? Not just the latest tech news, or the news about Andrew Jackson being, in fact, dead at the time of the Civil War, but the news about the Met Gala and the rules that were broken there?

If not, here’s what you need to know: Kylie Jenner, the 19-year-old ruler of a vast cosmetics empire and the youngest of the Kardashian clan, broke the Met Gala’s “no selfie” rule.

She did so by taking a photo of friends, family, Brie Larson (who stumbled in by accident), and, surprisingly, a smiling Frank Ocean. More specifically, she did so by pointing a phone camera into a mirror — the traditional definition of a selfie and, at the Met Gala, the traditional definition of terrible behavior.

To add insult to whoever this injures, she referred to the bathroom selfie as an “annual” event — openly admitting that she is not a first-time offender and she has a tradition of disrespect for the rule.

And she wasn’t alone: her big sister Kim Kardashian West posted a Snapchat Story riddled with selfies of her posing with many of the night’s biggest names, including Rihanna and Donatella Versace. Mindy Kaling shared a photo with Aziz Ansari and Riz Ahmed to both Twitter and Instagram. It happens every year, so it’s clear the rule is not being enforced. But why does it exist, and who would even want to enforce it?

Can you imagine being the security guard who suggests to Madonna that she cannot have a photo of herself with Kanye West at an event where tickets cost $30,000 per person? “Oh excuse me Madonna, no photos of your own face, thank you.” I don’t want to say that sentence and I can’t imagine who does.

In 2015, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour banned social media of any kind from the event (the rule now applies to selfies only) and refused to say why. It’s possible that the policy is meant to ensure that official photographers can get a good price for the photos they take at the event. But if a fair shake for Getty were the reason, it would have been easy for Wintour to say so.

Instead, the ban is popularly understood as a way of discouraging the trickling of information from inside the exclusive event out into the world of the embarrassing masses. That was easy enough to accomplish for most of the gala’s 70-year history — were celebs going to make photocopies of Polaroids and strew them around the street? No.

The rise of social media changed the game. The Met Gala red carpet is a major annual event on Twitter, a fun opportunity for anyone with an interest in celebrity, fashion, or bizarre party themes to live tweet about the best and weirdest ways those three things come together. But once the celebs duck inside, that’s supposed to be the end of the show for you and me.

It’s also possible Wintour is just operating on the generic assumption that selfies are tasteless. Another major fashion event, the Cannes Film Festival, tried to eliminate red carpet selfies on these grounds two years ago. Director Thierry Frémaux took the shame angle, announcing to attendees, “you never look as ugly as you do in a selfie.” It’s an interesting argument, predicated on the idea that most people don’t know anything about their own faces.

Kylie and Kim, as just one counterpoint, know their faces very well, and are great at turning them into art without the assistance of a professional. So if the rule is for their own protection from bad pictures, it’s even dumber than I thought. It’s not my number one personal philanthropic cause, but, in my opinion, anyone should be able to take a photo of themselves at any time because... who cares?

Thank you to Kylie and all the other celebs who risked absolutely no consequences to let me inside their fancy party via Instagram.

Comments

"this is why the terrorists hate us."

fun fact, well known terrorist group started out as the Instagram Selfie Inhibition Society

There is something seriously wrong with a person who can’t put their camera/phone away for an evening, and can’t stop with the selfies for a single night.

More so for people who think they are above the rules. No different than the a-holes who like to park in the fire lanes and areas that blatantly say "no parking".

I have no sympathy for them.

And being bumped, prodded and pushed around by morons trying to take selfies is not my idea of a fun time.

Look at all the clowns in the bathroom. Think maybe someone might have actually wanted to use that room for what it was meant for? Think maybe their hired muscle would have kept those people out of the bathroom during this time?

Just a bunch of privileged, self important, narcissistic Hollywood types.

Kylie and Kim, as just one counterpoint, know their faces very well, and are great at turning them into art

I legitimately shudder when I see something created by a Kardashian be described as art.

It’s a failed attempt to encourage these narcissists to act like human beings. Instead of corrupting other human beings into acting like narcissists. Rage against that machine celebrities. You have the right to take your own photograph just like you have the right to wear red and blue to Diddy’s white party. America. Take a picture of yourselves in a bathroom.

Not sure these comments are going the way the author expected. Or maybe they’re going exactly as the author expected

Welcome to The Verge? A blog about technology culture and culture culture!

How about a better rule…. a day with no Jenner / Kardashian showing up in the news.

Who’s the girl with Bieber?

looks kinda like Cara Delavigne

If that’s how you spell her name….

*Delevingne

I know. I was there in my finest. And then Katy Perry and I took a selfie, and armed guards escorted us out. Katy apologized and bought me a pony.

All is forgiven. But, I am never going to another event like that.

BTW- anyone have remedy for sore feet? Formal ware (especially those shoes) just isn’t my thing.

when will people learn to NOT look at the screen when taking mirror selfies?

LOOK AT THE CAMERA LENS!

Don’t educate ppl on selfies bro you’ll end up encouraging the behavior!

Their could be consequences. No invite perhaps?

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