Pucker your lips, bat your eyes, stare at your phone and put your duck face on. SNAP! Take your picture!
It is time, once and for all, to break the silence and confront this abnormally self-centered trend that has been annoyingly invading our social networks: SELFIES!
It has occurred to me that women and men alike have taken a questionable obsession with themselves. An overbearing admiration of oneself has become a norm and natural by many; ironically, a phenomenon that reflects but the opposite from natural.
I wish I knew or could better understand the source of this unappetizing self-status, but I can merely gather my thoughts to analyze why anyone would want to spread pointless look at me I am hot pictures of themselves with the rest of the world. Not only does it not contribute to society, but actually far damages it. In any case, in the attempt to fathom this societal issue, I dug a few hypotheses and realized that this catastrophe is far more profound than a simple selfie.
Beauty and Fame
Let’s start with a basic theory. Societies have always been exposed to the vanity surrounding beauty. Magazines, TV, ads, commercials, music, videos, and movies alike have always set a high standard for beauty that we as the audience have objectified as desirable. A recent trend has furthered this highly esteemed image and coupled it with an element of fame to create a new desired goal of stardom. Think about recent make-up and perfume ads where a movie star is chosen to be the face of the product. Get it?
Now add the element of the Internet, and this new hopeful image of stardom not only exponentially spreads across a larger audience, but also increasingly showers us with repeated propaganda reinforcing the dream. And that dream, dear young professionals, starts with a selfie. Allow me to continue.
As mentioned above, beauty and fame have always been present in our societies and are certainly not novel to our generation. However, Generation Y (us) is the perfect spectator for this vain drift. Let me elaborate by making reference to a recent Huffington post article that recently went viral, Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy.
This great article begins by defining the formula to Happiness. HAPPINESS = Reality – Expectations.
The articles goes to explain that Generation Y (cohort born between 1970-1990) are setting ridiculously high expectations for themselves, their careers and achievements, forming a gargantuan gap with reality and thus leading to more unhappiness. It explains that this generation believes that they cannot only achieve anything, but are simply entitled to do so because they are special and unique, two praises that have been repeatedly preached to them by their parents (baby boom generation). The article beautifully characterizes this in a sketch.
This growing holier than thou attitude characteristic of Generation Y only continues to fuel this delusion that “I am special and people should admire me because, let’s face it, I am unique.” The dream of stardom suddenly becomes attainable, and selfies become justifiable.
Add the important element of social media to the mix and the virtual dream becomes a virtual delusion.
The rise of social media networks has supplied us with the tool to paint that desired picture of ourselves. We have myriad options permitting us to brand ourselves through our profile pictures, our music sharing, our check-ins, amongst other things, and, yes, through the one and only selfie. We create this grandiose, unrealistic image of our lives that we aspire to attain offline. Sadly, many of us fall in this trap and start believing that we are as special. And, the excessive selfies start to plague our networks.
The introduction to social media networks has also created the phenomena of followers, a phenomenon that has solidified Gen Y’s hallucinations.
If someone decides to brand themselves, it is probably with the intention of sharing with their followers, friends, and basically anyone who has access to the net, which, let’s face it, amounts to a fairly large audience. Think about YouTube users that found some portion of fame. For example, do you remember the young Canadian Filipina girl who sang a Lady Gaga song? Her YouTube video was viewed by many users, supporting the video to go viral all the way to Lady Gaga, who invited this young girl to sing on stage at her concert. This is a real example demonstrating how a “normal” girl achieved fame instantly. We are all only a click away from stardom.
We live in a generation where instant gratification is as easy as it can get. Post a picture on Facebook, you are guaranteed to get a LIKE or a comment. Share a picture on Instagram, and once again a LIKE is sure to follow; share a tweet, and you have the chance to be retweeted again and again. Share your check-in on foursquare, and you will receive a personalized foursquare message. You get the gist. This flooding of likes and comments has somehow heightened the need for instant recognition, a need that is very prominent amongst Generation Y. This abundance of instant gratification also continues to deepen Gen Y’s delusions and falsely reaffirms their sense of entitlement and uniqueness. So why am I rambling on about this? Well, basically selfies are a great example of instant narcissistic gratification, which brings me to my next topic.
Narcissism is Normal
Generation Y’s (and probably those younger) abundant self- centered ways and narcissistic behavior have become so common amongst many that they have become defined as normal.
In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has eliminated narcissistic personality disorder from their list of personality disorders. Alarming, yes? Are you surprised? Or are you simply realizing that we are screwed? This disorder has actually misshapen into an accepted behaviour by doctors.
If we solely calculate the number of selfies propagating our social networks, we could understand why doctors agreed to this decision. If they hadn’t, three-quarters of society would be in therapy! Seriously.
I must admit that although I try to approach life’s topics with humour and lightness, I am actually a bit disturbed after digging deeper into this topic.
Not only will it be challenging to break this selfie movement, because undoubtedly half of our friends are active “selfiers,” for lack of a better of word, but the issues goes deeper than that. A dysfunctional society is actually being treated with acceptance and normalcy, and one hell of a degenerate path is being paved for the next generations.
Let us come together, step by step, and recreate a sane selfie-less society. Let us to do so and avoid a future generation with names like Zeus, The Messenger, Braveheart, Superwoman and Batman.
– Selfie hater
Cover Image courtesy of: Beauty World News