By: Mitali Chaudhary
Humans have always marveled at the curves and fine lines of their own faces—thousands of years of portraiture and art can attest to this. But now that we can immortalize our pouts with the simple tap of a button, our inner narcissists have never been more prevalent. This rising trend of taking ridiculous amounts of “selfies,” and meticulously inspecting them for flaws, not only reveals our infatuation with the “perfect body” and ourselves but also displays blatant selfishness and an inflated self-worth, especially when taken in inappropriate places.
Unfortunately, technology only propagates this culture. Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media platforms provide the perfect environment to post selfies, where the poster can get instant validation and encouragement to publish more of the same. Another example is Snapchat, in which the whole point is to send innumerable selfies (with one line of text). In fact, recent scientific studies show that some degree of narcissism correlates directly with the number of followers, likes, status updates and, of course, selfies an individual has. Because in this digital age it is wholly accepted to do so, we can easily engage in shameless self-promotion without consequence.
This culture shows its truly ugly side when people are driven to take selfies in extremely inappropriate situations. A few unforgettable examples include “selfie at Auschwitz,” or the one where a woman took a selfie while a man was in the background being talked down from the side of a bridge by the police. There are also the countless selfies taken at funerals. Such behaviour demonstrates callousness and a shift in moral values caused by an increased focus on oneself and, although these cases are few, show a possible path our society can take due to extreme selfie culture.
It’s a given that seeking the approval of others and taking the occasional selfie is healthy and fun, to an extent. Our obsession with being admired by others and believing that the world cares about the details of our lives however, is not. If we, as a society, continue to place our attention on our physical selves, then empathy and the willingness to help others will inevitably decline further. This is a societal problem that we can afford. So, love yourself, but not too much.