Selfies have become more than a trend, they are almost a defining aspect of our time. Some people even go so far as to call it “selfie culture”. With the rise of technology and social media, selfies have become an obsession and a part of most people’s daily lives. According to University of Florida’s Eunice Kim, there are 93 million selfie postings every day. June 21st has become National Selfie Day— a day entirely dedicated to taking pictures of yourself and posting them on social media platforms. This day is perhaps a good time to pause and take a look at the meaning and effects of selfie culture, along with any good that has come of it.
There are mainly two camps that people fall into when they discuss selfie culture: Those who feel that the whole thing is narcissistic and self-centered, and others who feel that it is an expressive gesture of confidence and autonomy. Psychologically speaking, the definition of narcissism does lend itself to selfie culture. According to psychologist Eunice Kim, “a crucial component of narcissism is grandiosity, which involves an inflated sense of self-importance….To affirm and maintain overly positive self-views, narcissists engage in a range of self-regulatory strategies such as seeking admiration or fantasizing about their self-esteem.” While it does seem that selfies are probably a favorite pastime for narcissists, this doesn’t mean that all people who post selfies are narcissistic.
But what about possible benefits of posting all those selfies? According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, “Because selfie posting provides a viable way to construct a self-image, it can have therapeutic effects. No one gets harmed in the process, no one is forced to look at all those selfies, and perhaps, over time, the individual can feel affirmed enough to be able to move on to other ways to express his or her self-image.”
As with any activity, it’s probably best to maintain a healthy balance. Always pointing the camera towards yourself may be indicative of some problems, but there is certainly nothing wrong with feeling good in front of a lens. Loving yourself and being comfortable in your own skin is a very empowering thing, and nobody should be shamed for enjoying a good selfie. However, it is also a good practice to point the camera elsewhere from time to time and take a look outward.
We hope National Selfie Day is a day of confidence, empowerment, and introspection.