Being the start of the new year we thought we would take this opportunity to have a phone clean up and delete all the unwanted files and downloads that are just taking up valuable phone space. Or should we say valuable selfie phone space.
We both think we may have gone a little selfie crazy over the past year. We have lost count of the number of pictures we have taken in the same pose, in a slightly different angle with a slight difference in pout with and without the help of our beloved selfie stick . So what is it about selfies that has got the young the old, the celebrities and the guy next door hooked, regardless of colour and creed.
According to Walker (2013) to date over 31 million selfies have been taken and posted on Instragram with the tag #selfie. The question is why have become so obsessed about selfies and posting on-line and what does it exactly say about those who do this?
In an article on Slate.com there is suggestion that “selfies are good for girls”and particularly encourage young girls to be proud of themselves. Selfies can be seen to empower females to celebrate their looks and accomplishments by posting their pictures on social media and thereby encouraging others to do the same. On the other hand Selfies can be viewed as much more problematic. An article by Erin Gloria Ryan suggests “selfies are not empowering in fact they are more a reflection of the way society teaches women that their physical attractiveness is their most important quality” (Walker, 2013).
It seems that the male gender are just as obsessed with selfies. An article in the Times suggests men who post lots of selfies on social media networks are more likely to show signs of psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by anti-social behavior.
The research, which surveyed 800 men ages 18 to 40, also confirmed a common belief that men who share selfies online are more likely to be narcissistic, according to the study, published recently in Personality and Individual Differences. Narcissism and self-objectification were also linked to men who edit their selfies before posting them online.
On the flip side what happens when a person becomes so self-obsessed and they feel compelled to post selfies in an attempt to gain approval and receive admiration and attention from others in the forms of likes and comments.
A nationwide survey of 1,000 girls between the ages of 14 to 17, conducted in 2010 by the Girls Scouts of the USA, revealed that nearly 74% of those asked believe their female peers use social media to make themselves appear “cooler than they really are.” The survey also shared the view that most young women “downplay” their positive traits like intelligence and kindness on their social media profiles. Instead, what gets the bulk of the attention is physical appearance, as is reflected in the selfie.
“Being overly concerned about pictures of yourself doesn’t make you a narcissist,” says Dr Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist and the author of The Willpower Instinct. “It’s entirely normal, and from a survival perspective helpful, to be obsessed with gossip about yourself, pictures of yourself or responses to you online. Such status anxiety is part and parcel of being in a society. [We] are interested in what friends and family are doing, saying, thinking and feeling – particularly if it’s a response to us. This is how we establish our place in society, how we form supportive relationships with like-minded people.”
From a psychology perspective, the textbook definition of narcissism is fairly harmless, described as, “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.” From a psychoanalysis point of view, it’s much more critical: “self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.”
Suggestive danger aspects of selfies have been noted in an article by Facebook which showed a number of selfies taken moments before life threatening incidents. Whilst discussing selfies in a light hearted way we should always remember to keep safe and keep aware of our surroundings.
Here is an article we found interesting in achieving the perfect selfie. If anything else it should make you giggle a little … how many of you are doing it right.
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