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If someone taking a selfie bothers you, ignore it. But no one gives anyone a right to shame them as narcissistic. That’s suppressing their voice.
I see a lot of posts which unnecessarily mock people as narcissists because of selfies. For whoever cares to read, here is the data; because reporting thrives on negativity and calling names, selfies have been called narcissistic repeatedly, especially if these are women.
Sorry to break the bubble of men on this – one of the original papers that reported it (which is the most ‘cited’ in fashionable news editions) had the article titled ‘Selfie posting behaviors are associated with narcissism among men’ published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2015.
Since then multiple studies have been performed with methodologies and statistics all over the place.
It has slowly evolved that although narcissists may be more prone to taking selfies, anyone taking selfies does not automatically mean they are narcissist with a negative connotation.
This recent publication in Addictive Behaviors Report, 2020, titled ‘Selfie-engagement on social media: Pathological narcissism, positive expectation, and body objectification – Which is more influential?’ does a more complete and compact analysis with sound statistics.
They found that “Pathological narcissism was not a significant predictor of selfie-engagement”, and that younger women’s selfies are often primarily associated with body positivity, while men’s associated primarily with body-objectification. Says a lot, about society!
Both papers are available to all at the links provided. The 2020 paper summarizes the literature in the field well too, so most of the associated data will be found in that paper.
Here is the thing in my experience, selfie is a form of self expression. Many who did not have voices before have found a way; society’s knees are weak and always quiver whenever someone self-expresses, especially those whose voices are suppressed.
I know many people, from many ethnicities, from many societies who have found self-love (something societies have traditionally sucked at teaching young minds) in own pictures. Like everything else it can be used to empower or take power away. Sure, some narcissists may have grandiose tendencies using selfies as a tool, but I have always thought the data that gets cited is not sound.
So it appears too… and it is an evolving data set.
If someone else’s selfie bothers you-I would suggest not looking. If you want to go mock people for selfies- go ahead. Your life, your call. But I’ll let you know that it is unkind thing to do without knowing about their background, where they are coming from, or their story… as simple as that.
To all my friends and again whoever cares to read… let nothing, including unnecessary judgement of you taking your picture, stop you from living your life. We get one chance!
I don’t care why you took it, you felt good, and that is enough for me to be appreciative of it.
Meanwhile here’s me… On a scale of zero to ‘should I just dry freeze and snort caffeine already’ kind of a day!
Header image source: a still from Four More Shots Please
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