Self.i.e. Narcissism?

What is a Selfie?

Well actually I think we all know what a Selfie is.

But why has it come to a point where we’re all at least familiar with the term “Selfie”?

Now, along with the term itself comes an overwhelming influx of emotions and views that may get some people’s blood boiling.

But what does this movement mean for society?

That’s our question for today.

We can already agree that consumer culture itself makes us “… responsible for the surfaces of our body”, pressuring the maintenance of our external self from fear of showing signs of a “flawed self”. More specifically, women’s bodies are expected to conform to the “traditional” standards of ‘slenderness and beauty’ and the constant re-touching of images of ‘celebrities or micro-celebrities’ on social media certainly doesn’t help this stigma.

However, from this comes the narcissist.

Celebrity and Social Media icon Kim Kardashian has been said to have “… taken female narcissism to a whole new level [with] … a compilation of 352 Selfies called ‘Selfish’.”

The book was apparently put together for the enjoyment of her husband and fellow narcissist, Kanye ‘Yeezy/God/Yeez/Yay/Yee’ West on Valentines Day while he was travelling. Initially solely for this purpose, Kim Kardashian went on to publish the compilation book for mass production, allegedly for the ‘real sole purpose’, which is to stroke her “fragile ego”.

Now this seems to be quite the grand statement, but the reality may be the polar opposite with Kim Kardashian announcing,

“I am empowered by my body… I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my own skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”

Although this confidence is admirable, its statements like this that if generalised across media, its influence can reach the impressionable mind of the vulnerable. This can be extremely almost conditioning force generated by this and the perceptions of society that lead to body image issues.

Teenager Danny Bowman, an aspiring model is one of many to be swept with technology addiction, specifically an addiction to Selfie posts. Bowman attempted suicide after posting a photo announcing his aspirations for a career in modelling when he began receiving being told that his “… body [was] the wrong shape to be a model … [and his] skin wasn’t up to scratch.” Although this damage was obviously devastating, the long-term effects proved to be just as disturbing, being diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

This story and many like it, are becoming more and more prevalent with “… recent study from the Pew Research Centre, 91% of teenagers have posted a photo of themselves online.” However, in stating that the widespread access to the production of Selfie media has increased with the domination of the smart phone, the producer of the Selfie is a “secure, mature person… the Selfie [will be] spontaneous and not overly engineered or edited. A more insecure person is going to post staged or sexualized photos, and they’re going to do it so much they become consumed by it and the comments they receive.”

With this in mind, it is both the interpretation of the creator and the interpretation of the viewer that determines the context of whether the Selfie of interest either conforms or unfavourable to the interest of the online public.

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