The evolution of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and furthermore Snapchat has seen the idea of the ‘selfie’ become a social and cultural norm in recent times. These platforms have expanded to be much more than an avenue to communicate information, we now use them to build relationships, as well as enabling us to express and present our own unique image (Lin, Lu, 2011).
‘Selfies’ and this constant self-promoting through social media is strongly linked to narcissistic traits. It seems in we have so concerned with providing photographic evidence, simply just text is no longer enough in modern society (Lee, Lee, Moon, Sung 2015). Whether this be a selfie in the gym, a selfie a nightclub or a selfie at café with your spinach and feta salad because you’re on a health kick- let’s not forgot your coffee made some bearded hipster with a man bun and wears glasses without lenses because apparently “it adds an edge man” (that was a direct quote from a conversation I had with a Melbourne hipster).
Why have become so concerned with broadcasting ourselves? Why have we become so superficial? In our obsession with taking the selfie and broadcasting, we have seemed to be losing our sense of reality. What we present on social media and in our selfies is our ‘edited life’. It could be one of numerous filters on Instagram or the Snapchat filter that makes you look like a puppy- I mean what the hell is that, really?
These options to adapt what we share has to some extent caused ‘our’ image to be false and misleading. Research suggests that these narcistic traits have a stronger connection to men rather than women. However it seems that this idea of sharing a false image and an edited life, the pressures of body image has largely fallen on women.
In recent times there has been much discussion in regards to body image and individual comfort and acceptance of one’s body. This has been driven by several celebrities and public figures such as Jennifer Lawrence and Beyoncé.
Kim Kardashian is a celebrity has attracted criticism from her fellow celebrities as she has posted multiple nude selfies on her social media accounts in recent months, as some thought posting these photos could have a negative influence on how young women view their bodies.
Personally, I respect Kim in a way. If she posts a nude selfie it could be viewed as publicity stunt in an effort to increase social media followers, a good business decision as brands may see benefit in her endorsement. If I posted a nude selfie on Instagram I can pretty much guarantee I’d go to jail (no one needs to see that).
Another public figure who has drawn criticism is Lorna Jane Clarkson- CEO and founder of Lorna Jane active wear. Earlier this year Jane, landed herself in controversy with comment about her refusal to stock “plus size” clothing.
Rather than promote how we should look or what’s the ideal body image or type, we need to promote the idea that there is no ‘perfect body’ or ‘perfect selfie’ and we should just feel comfortable and if we’re not, make healthy changes to our lifestyle. A past campaign from skin care giant Dove I think expresses the importance of accepting who we are.