The explosively popular photography style of selfies is now bigger than ever, and the phenomenon of branding ourselves all over social media platforms has become a way individuals and groups sell their image to become a household name. Not only has the selfie been described as a way to feed our own ego, in 2013 The Oxford English Dictionary called “selfie” as the word of the year…because apparently the English vocabulary has nothing more intellectual to award.
Since the growing phenomena, selfies have been linked to narcissism and mental health issues, in fact there have been studies constructed to reflect on how researchers found that posting more photos was correlated with both narcissism and psychopathy. But this makes me think; why has painting self portraits never been seen as narcissistic or shallow? Is it because painting is seen as a form of art? or because it has created some of the most amazing pieces? Why should we be criticised for believing that we are our own pieces of art?
Jesse Fox, assistant professor of communication at the Ohio State University in the United States, conducted a study of 800 men who were asked to fill in a questionnaire on the basis of selfies. Results showed that posting more photos was related to narcissism and psychopathy, but psychopathy was not related to editing photos. Fox continues to say that the although women were not included, they show higher levels of narcissism and psychopathy; which also means that there are more women also editing their photos. Therefore, those who score higher on self-objectification post more selfies, which means people will be expecting positive feedback and comments from friends.
Self-objectification involves valuing yourself mainly for your appearance, rather than for other positive traits.
“We know that self-objectification leads to a lot of terrible things, like depression and eating disorders in women,” Fox said.
“With the growing use of social networks, everyone is more concerned with their appearance. That means self-objectification may become a bigger problem for men, as well as for women.”
More studies on the topic of the selfie have authors linking the examination of self-objectification with three traits, known as the “Dark Triad”: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. To get an idea of where you sit on the spectrum, take the personality test.
The test is a good way to reveal what your really like when you act and how you feel towards certain situations. I will be one who can openly say that selfies are something that feed my confidence when I feel great about myself. In fact it has become a regular routine, when I’m all dressed up and my second layer of face is on, that my friends and I take multiple selfies on a night out. This isn’t because I’m obnoxious or narcissistic, but because I should be able to feel comfortable around people and showcase that confidence that I radiate to the online world. Why should I be judged for how I look and dress?
On another spectrum, social media platforms are becoming a way celebrities showcase their lifestyle. Their photographs have become a way for them to brand their lifestyle and themselves; for example the Kardashian name and brand as increased in popularity and income, with all the sisters constantly documenting their luxurious lifestyle on Instagram and Snapchat.
But with all these luxurious selfies that they’re taking, society has become obsessed and begun following in the same footsteps; and as a result moral panic tends to occur with the uprising of the branding. Because hey, when I feel like Kimmy K all I do is selfie. And let’s be honest, she has become so well branded and so many people aspire to have the same.
And even when you’re not feeling the most attractive, most of us are using Snapchat’s newest features to hide the blemishes with dog filters and sunglasses. The ultimate selfie photos have now changed with the variety of changes; but with the change, brings further moral panic, as the features hide away the true meaning of one’s natural beauty. So if editing your photos is linked to psychopathy, what would changing your face to look like an animal be labelled?