Selfies Aren’t Selfish: 4 Busted Myths and the Realities
There are plenty of little myths and misconceptions people hold about selfies. In this article, I’m debunking them all.
What is your first thought when you hear the word “selfie”? A little bit of word association would make you think of “narcissism”, “attention whore” or the infamous “duck face”.
Allegedly published in some science journal somewhere, there is a study that found selfies to be bad for your mental health.
AND EVEN WORSE… people might think you’re vain! *gasp*
Sure, a narcissist would probably be more inclined to taking lots and lots of selfies. Someone who has Body Dysmorphic Disorder or someone suffering from OCD might also take lots of selfies, just like someone with OCD might have to turn the light off and on 5 times before they leave a room…
BUT selfies aren’t the cause of these problems, only a symptom.
That’s not to say that selfies are inherently bad. The maxim “everything in moderation” can definitely be applied here.
The problem is, people see headlines like….
And automatically assume that selfies are bad, without examining it any further.
SO… why am I defending the taking of selfies?
Many people seem to want to blame the selfie and the selfie-takers for the problems in society, when it’s really not (we have bigger fish to fry!).
It goes a little deeper into the self-esteem and confidence issues, and I wanted to make the point of how selfies aren’t to blame, but they can actually be a GOOD thing.
It’s not all about emphasizing looks over personality.
I’m challenging you to think critically here, purely for the sake of thinking critically.
Here are those myths, and why I think they are busted.
Why Selfies aren’t bad
Here are those myths, and why I think they are busted.
Busted Myth #1: Selfies are causing us to “dumb down” and directs our focus to how we look instead of our achievements, personalities, etc.
You know how magazines and commercials, books, TV shows and advertisements are constantly flashing in our faces that we should look a certain way?
The underlying message in most mass media is that if you don’t look pretty, you’re ultimately inferior.
This goes for women AND men.
You have to be thin. You have to have a certain kind of hair. This kind of makeup, this sized butt, these boobs, this waist, these legs, these lips…
Maybe instead of blaming selfies for this obsession with how we look, maybe we should blame mass media? Those things have been shoved down our throats for a while now.
AND just because someone is very into makeup, fashion etc, DOESN’T necessarily mean they DON’T focus on other things, such as a career, family life, being a good person, etc.
Kill that misconception right the heck now.
Busted Myth #2: Selfies are causing poor self-esteem.
People have been dealing with negative self-esteem and body image issues for decades. Selfies have only gotten popular in the last 10 years.
Our society likes to look at new occurrences as being the cause of our underlying problems. When something new comes along, it becomes the scapegoat.
This also goes back to Myth #1:
The images of bodies we see repeatedly can be harmful if we ourselves don’t look that way.
This doesn’t mean that attractive or desirable people shouldn’t be seen. It means there needs to be way more diversity in general.
We’re getting better at that, but there is still a long way to go.
Busted Myth #3: You post selfies because you need those “likes” and comments to feel good about yourself.
Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but personally if I’m happy with a selfie, I couldn’t care less who likes it and who doesn’t.
Many people just say “Hey! I love how I look today. I’m putting it on my Instagram so I can save this forever.” It doesn’t necessarily mean your self-esteem hinges on how many likes it gets.
I also love seeing my friends selfies!
It’s nice to scroll through and like your friends pictures, give them compliments, etc.
Of course it feels good to get compliments on how you look! BUT if it feels like the end-all-be-all of your mental health and feelings of self-worth, then you have much bigger problems you need to address.
Busted Myth #4: If you take and post selfies, you’re self absorbed and shallow.
SO… if I ask someone else to take a picture of me, and I post it on Facebook, then you automatically won’t think I’m self-absorbed just because someone else took the picture?
That’s why people take those “accidental” selfies and post them, or “my boyfriend won’t stop taking pictures of me!” (but in the mirror in the background, you can see it’s her taking the picture.)
People are so afraid of being called vain, self-absorbed etc that they just flat out lie and end up making a bigger fool out of themselves.
Just post the damn selfie and if someone doesn’t like it, who cares?!
It’s totally contradictory to the myth of it making you feel bad about yourself. Isn’t liking the way you look a good thing?
Society: If you don’t like the way you look, that’s bad! You need help (or a makeover!!).
Also Society: You love the way you look? OMG get over yourself. 👎
Okay. I think I covered it.
As you can see, the selfie debate isn’t just about selfies. It’s about a lot of problems we have that weren’t actually caused by selfies.
Instead of blaming poor self image and mental health on silly things, we should try to have conversations about the actual issues and how we can help them. ☾
So, don’t be afraid to post your selfies! Follow us on IG @neon_moonbeam so we can see your beautiful faces.
Featured image credit: Original photo by Mink Mingle.
Facebook image credit: Original photo by Julián Gentilezza.
mom / artist / writer / light worker / editor-in-chief of neon moonbeam