We all know one or a few people who love taking a lot of selfies. A majority of people we know probably take a few. It is likely that everyone can think of one or two people who probably push this trend a bit too far. Is this an issue of vanity? Or is there actually more to it than that?
In our current day and age, the selfie has become an international phenomenon. It has been popularised by social media stars and celebrities such as Kim K. Selfies are seen as a means of self-empowerment, showing the world how good you look. The key issue there is the fact that through selfies and social media, people only show the world what they want them to see. With the likes of filters, editing, etc, it is easy to be fooled by selfies and put down by how seemingly ‘perfect’ some people’s are.
But first, let me take a selfie…
With role models like Kim K and a vast amount of social media/ Instagram ‘models’ making huge money from their striking selfies, it’s inevitable that people imitate this. Everyone wants to feel like they are desirable and admired. Getting a lot of likes is a sign of approval; a definitive proof that the picture is attractive. In reality, selfies and amounts of likes really do not mean anything. Even the most famous celebrities’ photos are highly edited for social media because even with copious amounts of surgery, their selfies still need to be tweaked and edited in order to be ‘perfect’ enough.
In recent times, it has been thought that obsession with taking selfies suggests underlying psychological problems. This is logical as it just suggests a cry for approval and attention.
Just like how people with anorexia become obsessed with losing weight and modifying their appearances, an obsession with taking selfies can be indicative of similar patterns of thinking. It is a way of displacing one’s anxietis and insecurities about themselves and trying to validate themselves in irrational ways. Getting likes on a selfie may lead to temporary happiness, but it doesn’t truly help that individual accept themselves and their appearance.
What is this disorder?
The disorder has been termed ‘selfitis’. It describes a situation wherein a person obsessively takes selfies and their moods are lagrly dependent upon the success and/or failure of these selfies regarding approval or ‘likes’.
‘Researchers found that typical ‘selfitis’ sufferers were attention seekers, often lacking in self confidence, who were hoping to boost their social standing and feel part of a group by constantly posting images of themselves.’ – The Telegraph
The illness appears to resonate in individuals who struggle with body confidence, anxiety and low self esteem. All of these are highly prevalant in young adults and teenagers. With the influence of social media, pressure to look a certain way is extreme. It is not all that surprising that selfie-taking is considered a mental illness, or something which highlights a variety of mental health problems. People who appear to demonstrate this obsession should receive help such as counselling to deal with their issues surrounding their sense of self. While we all love to laugh and joke about selfies and think of it as something extremely shallow, we need to remember that it has a dark side too.