How taking and publically sharing pictures of yourself is the exact opposite of what was once considered common social etiquette.
Whatever happened to humility, humbleness and the etiquette of NOT talking about one’s self? Whatever it was has been hashtagged and hacked into new social (media) etiquette that thrives on the very qualities that were once considered uncouth and unrefined. Can you imagine ladies of Victorian novels or Keats’ poetry self-praising their curled locks at the dinner table, explaining the details of what cream and curler their handmaids used? Even today, it’s tough to envision anyone with class bragging about themselves and worse, displaying their reserves of wealth via branded shoes and bags. It may make you cringe but it would definitely give Lady Grantham a coronary.
However, and unfortunately, the ‘selfie’ – that has risen as a new-age norm – is our window to the current generation. If you happened to be on Instagram this Eid – and there weren’t many people who weren’t – all you’d see is Eid looks, wardrobes, shoes, makeup and hair credits, etc etc. I have to say that I too am guilty of putting up a personal image or two but, to my defense, it is usually an image someone else has taken of me (and hence technically not a selfie). Also, it has made me uncomfortable enough to send me researching the selfie phenomenon and swearing off it. According to recent research, people who post selfies on social media have been associated with behaviors of narcissism, psychopathy and self-objectification. It’s the last time you’ll see me putting up a ‘selfie’, I pledge.
Here’s why: A recent survey conducted by Ohio State University has revealed that men who post plenty of pictures of themselves online (like selfies) are narcissistic and psychopathic. The study covered 800 men aged 18 to 40 who filled out an online survey, and completed standard questionnaires for anti-social behaviors and self-objectification. Women were not included as part of the survey though I can guarantee that results in women would be more alarming.
So what does the selfie prove, other than the fact that the individual has a smart phone? It reflects an egocentric personality who believes that others are and should be interested in how he or she looks. It displays some level of insecurity and need for approval as an Instagram post will result in a quest for ‘likes’. It also shows a lack of empathy and disregard of others; selfie addicts have been proven to be selfish and often disregard how their behavior effects others. If talking about one’s wealth is considered crass then how can making public displays of that wealth be different? Selfies, most significantly, display traits of self-objectification and people who post selfies usually believe that how they look is more important than what sort of a person they are.
So the question you need to ask yourself today is this: am I a selfie addict? The narci-stick in your cupboard may be a solid indicator.