An Open Letter to Sharks From a Selfie Taker

Selfies aren't more deadly than sharks. Just the humans taking them.

Selfies are more deadly than sharks? This contention is debatable. It's been the subject of basic Internet content since before Merriam-Webster added selfie to its dictionary. 

Most of the anti-shark-fear fear-mongering cites the number of “selfie-related-deaths” as being higher than the frequency of fatal shark attacks. And however vague,  devoid of context, or possibly credible the clickable claim might be, it actually uncovers a problem not previously known to marine biologists and everyone else: Sharks are slacking hard AF. 

Their unda-da-street cred as an apex predator is at risk. 

Despite taking a selfie or six in the past year, I’m still alive, and I am here to tell the sharks of the world that its time to get their shit together.

An Open Letter To Sharks


Low-key, you’re kind of f*cking shit up. You need to be scarier. People are supposedly more afraid of dying while taking a selfie than being eaten by you. It’s messed up. What’s going on?

In the 1950s, the average doof could induce a reasonable amount of terror at the public swimming pool (like a small ocean that we pee in but don’t pollute as much) simply by yelling your name.

“Shark!” Many a prankster young would wail. Horrified swimmers would flee the scene––swim caps tightly in place.

It can seem that less beachgoers are entering the water than ever, but don’t get cocky, sharks. Nobody is abstaining from swimming because they think you’ll mistake them for a seal and take a leg off. They’re all just too busy sitting next to the water, taking leg selfies for social media.

Which places the blame for this lack of fear on you, sharks. (And maybe also the intro graphics and overall set design on ABC's Shark Tank.)

To remedy your terror disconnect, start by identifying the cause of the confusion. Ask yourselves: At what point in time did taking a selfie begin to seem more dangerous than a whole gang of us? Some of our heads look like hammers. 

I know, right?

But you should probably also eat the youngest member of a vacationing family, mid-snorkeling trip, just to kick things off. Let everyone know that you don’t f*ck around.

IMO sharks were portrayed as perhaps too lovable in Disney’s 2003 family comedy Finding Nemo. As an audience, we were quick to abandon any fear we might have harbored toward the film’s shark characters when lead shark, Bruce, announced a newfound stance on fish: Friends, not food.

Bruce has to go.

And what about this dude? In early 2016, some guy in Florida (not surprised) was so not scared of being attacked by a shark, that he actually pulled one from the water with his bare bro-hands, and took a selfie with the shark. Are you kidding me? At the beach—on your own turf? Don’t wait for PETA to put that fool on blast. Eat that f*cking joker! F*ck Florida! 

*Breathes heavy for a few seconds. Takes a sip of water. Regains composure.*

Another dent in your image might be the Sharknado films. Not only is the franchise an affront to unemployed screenwriters, this is definitely not a good look for the shark squad. You should probably eat the guy that wrote and directed this, too. Or maybe just bite off his hands so he is unable to pen a fourth installment. #sharkmafia

Do you think the Street Sharks would have stood for this selfie non-sense? They wouldn’t have. And they were cartoons. 

As I try to bring things full circle, and leave you with some wisdom and an actionable re-branding strategy, I’m hit with a realization:

It’s actually our fault.

Not only are all of the previously mentioned appropriations of shark culture being carried out by humans, through overfishing we kill nearly 100 million sharks per year. In some parts of the world, your fins are put in soup and served as a delicacy. 

Now that is scary as hell.

Maybe its not selfies that are more deadly than you, just the destructive and invasive species taking them.

Shout out to the sharks.