Today’s topic is the selfie and social media. It’s a bit (okay it’s very) opinionated so I’m just going to apologize in advanced if I offend anyone. These are just my thoughts.
For those of you that don’t know, a selfie is a picture that you take of yourself, like the picture below:
These selfies are then uploaded to various social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…). I don’t really like selfies, I personally think that they’re narcissistic and they perpetuate this mindset of ‘perfection’.
A selfie that gets posted onto social media is one that takes a lot of effort- I know that a lot of girls put on makeup, do their hair and put on the perfect outfit all so that they can take the so called ‘perfect’ selfie. But it doesn’t stop there, after the picture is taken (or rather after hundreds of pictures are taken) people scrutinize every tiny little detail in the pictures- “I don’t like how my hair looks in this picture” or “I think I look fat in this picture” are commonly heard, among others. Then, after finding the ‘perfect’ picture, filters are applied and any deviations from perfect are photoshopped out. So after all that, the picture is then shared to various social media sites for all to see and ‘like’. I think that this would be close to the definition of narcissism- “excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance”. After all the time that is spent in taking the perfect picture, and all the time that is spent fixing the so-called perfect picture, the person can be seen as a bit obsessed with their appearance. Maybe it’s just me, maybe selfies are becoming the new norm and everyone is becoming a bit narcissistic; maybe social media has just enabled us to bring out our inner narcissism.
The images of selfies that are posted can also be somewhat unattainable- they’re photoshopped and filtered, and if young girls see these doll-like women as being the ideal then this can skew their perceptions of reality and the ‘norm’. I think that in general, if the ‘perfection’ seen on social media is the norm then it’s very unrealistic and if people don’t fit that norm, it can be distressing in a way.
People seem to feel the need to share everything they do on social media, I can’t really criticize them because I sometimes do the exact same thing. However, when I go out to the bar or clubbing with friends, I see a lot of young people on their phones feeling the need to ‘snapchat’ everything. I personally don’t think that they’re living in the moment, instead they care more about what others see them as (i.e. how being out partying or drinking makes you look). I realize that that’s just what social media is designed to do- emphasize all the positive/great moments in your life and downplay all the negatives. As a young adult on social media, I sometimes catch myself being envious of the lives of those on social media.
Then I realize that everyone has bad days and what you put on social media are just the highlights, the positives because let’s be real, if you posted just negatives no one would want to follow you. Then I realize something else: why do people care so much about how many ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ they have? I think this goes back to the need to feel validated and liked by others- kind of what selfies are meant to do. As much as I hate selfies, I can relate to the ultimate goal behind them: the need to feel validated and in a way, idolized.