[By: Hong Wei]
Disclaimer: I am by no means condemning the person/persons mentioned in this article who perform these acts. This is just a philosophical argument criticizing this trend.
Selfies – the habit turned epidemic that plagues us Millennials. In this article, I will give an alternative viewpoint to the usual praise for this unique, yet usual habit of taking pictures of oneself.
- Narcissism, and the need for verification. Selfies – those on social media, in particular – tend to lure individuals into the trap of the need for reassurance through receiving likes, retweets, and so on. They fundamentally undermine the need for self-esteem, conveying recognition on social media as more important than actual, self-conscious evaluations of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, it gives the notion that one’s image is paramount in one’s current desires. The thing about selfies is that one’s perception of a personal image is heightened to the extent that the look of the picture is more important than it is supposed to be. We tend to warp reality with pictures, showing one’s good image than those that are bad, and that can be quite detrimental to one’s self esteem.
- The ‘me’ trend. Participating in the selfie trend is a testament and an ode to the ‘me’ trend. The postmodernist era promotes feeling good rather than striving for the general good for oneself and the society at large. The selfie is a product of the paradigm. The reason for a well-taken selfie is to feel good about oneself, to have fun and generally to be happy in materialistic desires.
- Focus on the now and temporal life. The notion of selfies permeates the notion that what happens on this particular moment is of utmost importance. Although taking selfies to commemorate a particular important moment is noteworthy and justifiable, to take a selfie every single day and moment defeats the purpose of commemoration. One can say that he or she is cherishing every moment of his or her life, but being too focused on a particular moment takes away the importance to strive for a larger goal in the future.
- Being susceptible to the current brainwashed dogma of perfection. The ‘me’ trend, and the praise of narcissism and the need to verify eventually boils down to the essential, capitalist mindset of being as good as other people. Throughout the 20th century, we had been plagued by the dogma of the ideal person, the ideal country, etc., in order for the large corporations to make a buck of us. Eventually, the notion of trying to reach perfection has manifested itself in appearing perfect or as perfect as possible, subconsciously, in order to feel good about oneself. It is a subtle way, not a direct one, to need to keep up with the Joneses.
In conclusion, although there is an importance to selfies and the known benefits to this trend, it is an insidious way that we are slowing degrading into this Capitalist mindset. We are now drones of Corporate Marketing, indulging everything that we were given to consume. Thus, we forget our core values, and the things we strive for are now tainted by the need to conform and to be better in conforming.